In late June, a U.S. District Court judge denied IBM’s attempt to bar one of its former executives from working at Dell Inc. (See Court Denies Preliminary Injunction Sought by IBM Because Former Employee Signed Non-Compete Agreement in Wrong Place.)
The reason? Even though David L. Johnson, formerly IBM’s vice president of corporate development, had signed a non-compete agreement, he had put his John Hancock on the wrong line in the document. Intentionally. He was miffed because he hadn’t gotten the promotion he wanted, but thought there was a chance he still might get it. Rather than resign prematurely, he signed in the wrong place and waited to see what happened. When he didn’t get the job, he jumped to Dell.
Apparently, that’s all it takes to get out of what would otherwise be a legally binding contract. According to the Wall Street Journal, the court said that “Johnson’s gambit appears to have worked just as he envisioned.”
Guess where I’m going to start signing those freelance writing contracts that demand all rights, in all media, anywhere in the universe?