Colorado's Non-Compete Statute

In Colorado, employers often claim that noncompetes¬†signed by salemen are enforceable because the company has customer lists and other proprietary information which are trade secrets. Employers resort to the “trade secret” exception in Colorado’s noncompete statute, because many salesman don’t have management responsibilities and the statutory exception for executive and management personnel can’t be invoked. It is true that the trade secret exception can be used by employers against salesmen or non-managers. And Colorado courts repeatedly have held that sales histories, buying patterns and customer preferences can, under the right circumstances, be trade secrets even if the names and addresses of the company’s customers are publicly available.

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In the last several years, several states have adopted statutes governing the enforcement of non-competes, including Oregon, Connecticut and Idaho. In other states, legislation has been proposed but not adopted. None of the statutes in other states are identical to Colorado’s although similarities exist. 

In the midst of these changes in other states, it is worthwhile to