Massachusetts looks to loosen up non-compete agreements

Massachusetts may not ban non-compete agreements — something a good chunk of its tech community would like  — but it looks like there is some movement on that front. Governor Deval Patrick’s administration — which was pushing to get rid of the controversial agreements altogether — now looks poised to compromise, according to the Boston Globe. 

The state senate voted in favor of a measure that would limit non-compete agreements to six months and nuke them altogether for hourly employees.

The issue has split the local tech community. EMC(s emc), based in the Boston suburb of Hopkinton, Mass., has used these agreements to try to keep key employees from joining competitors. But many in the startup world such use is counterproductive because top talent often goes to California — which does not allow non-competes —  for better career prospects.

Non-compete pacts were in the news again this week when Amazon sued a former strategic partnership manager Zoltan Szabadi, who left to join the Google Cloud Platform group, alleging that joining that competitor violates an agreement he signed hwen he joined AWS in 2008. As Geekwire pointed out, that case echos one Amazon filed 2 years ago against a former VP, Daniel Powers, who also left to join Google. That case ended up in federal court which declined to enforce the most stringent parts  the agreement. 

This report was updated at 6:22 a.m. PST with details about the Amazon non-compete cases.