Massachusetts Noncompete Law Reform Efforts Fall Short, Again

As previously reported in Mark Whitney’s New England noncompete blog, the Massachusetts House and Senate recently passed competing versions of noncompete reform bills.  Although the two bills contained many of the same provisions, they also differed in material ways.  See Massachusetts Non-Compete Reform — Current Status; and Mass Senate Passes VERY Restrictive Non-Compete Reform Bill.

Because the two bills were so different, they were in the process of being considered by a 6-person Conference Committee comprised of 3 House members and 3 Senators.  The Conference Committee’s role was to try to reach a comprise between the different bills and to present the proposed compromise bill to both houses of the Massachusetts Legislature.

The deadline to conclude all business for this legislative session passed at midnight, Sunday, July 31, 2016.  As of that time, the Conference Committee did not recommend a compromise bill.  As a result, neither the House nor the Senate were able to vote on any compromise noncompete reform legislation.

It is worth noting that because noncompete reform failed, so too did the effort to adopt the Uniform Trade Secrets Act in Massachusetts.  Adoption of the UTSA was one of the several aspects of the competing House and Senate bills upon which both houses agreed.  However, the UTSA died on the vine because it was linked (perhaps unnecessarily) to noncompete reform in the same bill.