USD Law Prof Orly Lobel Discusses Aggressive Noncompete Contracts, Effects on Innovation in Union-Tribune

Professor Orly Lobel

San Diego (November 27, 2013) – The San Diego Union-Tribune published an interview with University of San Diego (USD) School of Law Professor of Law Orly Lobel on Sunday, November 24. In the interview, Lobel identifies a control mentality that is counterproductive and stifles creativity through the aggressive use of noncompete contracts and copyrights on inventions, one of the topics in her recent book, Talent Wants to Be Free: Why We Should Learn to Love Leaks, Raids, and Free-Riding.

In Talent Wants to be Free, Lobel suggests a new model to replace our protectionist mentality—not a free-for-all, but rather a midpoint on the spectrum of freedom and control where organizations pick their battles, often allowing tactical losses in the form of talent raids, information leaks, and free-riding as part of a larger strategy to win the innovation war. 

"Because talent is such an important asset, the impulse is that we don’t want our best people to leave after we’ve invested in them and trained them. But we’ve gone off balance with that." says Lobel. "There is empirical research, a lot of it bubbling up in just the last few years, showing how this over-control is demotivating for employees. It just makes them less invested in the company."

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About Professor Lobel

An internationally acclaimed expert in the law and economics of human capital, Orly Lobel is the Don Weckstein Professor of Law at the University of San Diego and founding faculty member of the Center for Intellectual Property and Markets. She teaches and writes in the areas of employment law, intellectual property law, regulatory and administrative law, torts, behavioral economics, health policy, consumer law and trade secrets. Her current research focuses on innovation policy and intellectual property. Lobel’s latest book is Talent Wants to be Free: Why We Should Learn to Love Leaks, Raids, and Free-Riding.

About the University of San Diego School of Law

Recognized for the excellence of its faculty, curriculum and clinical programs, the University of San Diego (USD) School of Law enrolls approximately 900 Juris Doctor and graduate law students from throughout the United States and around the world. The law school is best known for its offerings in the areas of business and corporate law, constitutional law, intellectual property, international and comparative law, public interest law, and taxation.

USD School of Law is one of the 81 law schools elected to the Order of the Coif, a national honor society for law school graduates. The law school’s faculty is a strong group of outstanding scholars and teachers with national and international reputations and currently ranks 23rd worldwide in all-time faculty downloads on the Social Sciences Research Network (SSRN). The school is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Founded in 1954, the law school is part of the University of San Diego, a private, nonprofit, independent, Roman Catholic university chartered in 1949.


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