The Supreme Court`s decision of the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey against the United States in 1911 was based on an analysis of Taft`s reason rule. In that case, the Court found that a contract contravened the Sherman Act only if the treaty ”unduly” limited trade, i.e. where the treaty had monopolistic consequences. According to the Court, a broader meaning would prohibit normal and usual contracts, thus violating contractual freedom. Accordingly, the Court approved the motivational rule set out in Addyston Pipe, which in turn stems from Mitchel v. Reynolds and the common law of trade restrictions. In preventing Reddy from holding a job at Ericsson, the court found that the reluctance was to prevent a person with knowledge of confidential technologies because of his or her job from using it to the detriment of the employer: there are cases where the restriction of trade agreements is unenforceable. This is generally where it is proven that the contract was not understood by the worker or where the application of the restriction of the trade agreement is too broad. It is not enough to identify confidential information as such. To be confidential, the information must be commercially useful, i.e.

be able to apply to trade or industry, have economic value for the protection of that information and be known to a limited number of people. Employers should therefore ensure that trade agreements are narrowly restricted and only to the extent necessary to protect their eligible interests. As far as commercial ties are concerned, this is only relevant if the employee has a close working relationship with customers, so that he or she may take them away if he leaves the company. In this particular case, Reddy/Siemens, the court found that the restriction of the trade agreement only prevented the worker from accepting a job with a Siemens competitor – it did not prevent the worker from being employed, but simply limited the employer concerned. The court also found that the worker had access to confidential information from the employer (Siemens) and, although it is sufficient for him to be able to disclose this confidential information, it is not necessary for him to actually disclose that information. That is why the restriction of the trade agreement was found to be valid and applicable. They are controversial because there is a conflict of fundamental values: on the one hand, there is the freedom or the unviability of treaties, which is based on compliance with agreements, and on the other, there is a commercial freedom which is a constitutionally recognized right. The following questions were asked in the case of Vodacom (Pty) Ltd/Motsa and Another (J 74/16) [2016] ZALCJHB 53. Vodacom was awarded the contract of an executive that included six months` notice and a commercial restriction for a further six months after the notice period expired.