Combinations in restraint of trade, price-fixing and limitation of production prohibited
(a) Every contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce in the State, or in any section of this State is illegal.
(b) Without limiting the generality of subsection (a), no person, exclusive of members of a single business entity consisting of a sole proprietorship, partnership, trust, or corporation, shall agree, combine, or conspire with any other person or persons, or enter into, become a member of, or participate in, any understanding, arrangement, pool, or trust, to do, directly or indirectly, any of the following acts, in the State or any section of the State:
(1) Fix, control, or maintain the price of any commodity;
(2) Limit, control, or discontinue, the production, manufacture, or sale of any commodity for the purpose or with the result of fixing, controlling or maintaining its price;
(3) Fix, control, or maintain, any standard of quality of any commodity for the purpose or with the result of fixing, controlling, or maintaining its price;
(4) Refuse to deal with any other person or persons for the purpose of effecting any of the acts described in paragraphs (1) to (3).
(c) Notwithstanding subsection (b) and without limiting the application of subsection (a), it shall be lawful for a person to enter into any of the following restrictive covenants or agreements ancillary to a legitimate purpose not violative of this chapter, unless the effect thereof may be substantially to lessen competition or to tend to create a monopoly in any line of commerce in any section of the State:
(1) A covenant or agreement by the transferor of a business not to compete within a reasonable area and within a reasonable period of time in connection with the sale of the business;
(2) A covenant or agreement between partners not to compete with the partnership within a reasonable area and for a reasonable period of time upon the withdrawal of a partner from the partnership;
(3) A covenant or agreement of the lessee to be restricted in the use of the leased premises to certain business or agricultural uses, or covenant or agreement of the lessee to be restricted in the use of the leased premises to certain business uses and of the lessor to be restricted in the use of premises reasonably proximate to any such leased premises to certain business uses;
(4) A covenant or agreement by an employee or agent not to use the trade secrets of the employer or principal in competition with the employee’s or agent’s employer or principal, during the term of the agency or thereafter, or after the termination of employment, within such time as may be reasonably necessary for the protection of the employer or principal, without imposing undue hardship on the employee or agent.
(d) Except as provided in subsection (c)(4), it shall be prohibited to include a noncompete clause or a nonsolicit clause in any employment contract relating to an employee of a technology business. The clause shall be void and of no force and effect.
As used in this subsection:
“Information technology development” means the design, integration, deployment, or support services for software.
“Noncompete clause” means a clause in an employment contract that prohibits an employee from working in a specific geographic area for a specific period of time after leaving employment with the employer.
“Nonsolicit clause” means a clause in an employment contract that prohibits an employee from soliciting employees of the employer after leaving employment with the employer.
“Software development” means the creation of coded computer instructions.
“Technology business” means a trade or business that derives the majority of its gross income from the sale or license of products or services resulting from its software development or information technology development, or both. A “technology business” excludes any trade or business that is considered by standard practice as part of the broadcast industry or any telecommunications carrier, as defined in section 269-1, that holds a franchise or charter enacted or granted by the legislative or executive authority of the State or its predecessor governments.