The pending legislative proposal, House Bill 173, modernizes an area of law important to Georgia business: protection through contractual provisions of competitively sensitive customer relationships, investment in goodwill, and confidential information. Currently, these provisions, or restrictive covenants, are subject to a sometimes antiquated, court decision-driven framework that ignores the realities of Internet commerce and modern business. By requiring that courts uphold the intent of the parties, and setting a baseline of reasonableness for these presumptions, House Bill 173 ensures that more agreements will be enforced, and that Georgia businesses, and their employees, will enjoy more certainty. The threat of increased litigation as a result of the bill is likely misplaced. Instead, the bill’s provisions may encourage earlier negotiated resolution between and among businesses, their departing employees, and new prospective employers.
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