Florida’s courts have stated that “the competitive free enterprise system” is ”the basis for the American economy and our very way of life.” Thus , the clear public policy of Florida is in favor of free and open competition. Nevertheless, Florida’s legislature website has deemed it permissible for parties in this state to interfere with the free market provided that the competition being eradicated or limited would be unfair. More specifically, this means that the party seeking enforcement of such an agreement in Florida must establish that its covenant does not run afoul of the restrictive covenant statute.
Among other things, the party seeking enforcement and divorce of its covenant must demonstrate the existence of one or more legitimate business interests. Recently, the Florida Supreme Court in White discussed the purpose of the legitimate business interest requirement. In discussing what makes a business interest protectable, the White court identified two interrelated, key guideposts. These guideposts were derived from three sources: 1) the text of the restrictive covenant statute, 2) the seminal article on the same penned by John Grant and Thomas Steele, and 3) Florida ‘s public policy in favor of free competition.