Putting aside federal antitrust laws, noncompete agreements are evaluated under state, not federal, law. Although some states have passed statutes regarding the reasonableness of CNCs, others rely upon the more fluid common law definition of reasonableness. In many cases this complex competitive analysis pivots merely off the following: (1) the number of years of the CNC; and (2) the geographic area covered by the CNC.
State laws also differ on whether a court has the power to ‘blue pencil’ or rewrite an overbroad noncompete agreement so that it does not transcend the boundaries of the reasonableness test. Such an ability is detrimental to the interests of franchisees and dealers, to the extent that it allows franchisors and manufacturers to get two bites at the apple on enforcing initially unlawful CNCs.