Implied Confidential Business Relationships

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What is an Implied Confidential Relationship?

An implied confidential relationship is an unwritten agreement between two people to keep certain information secret.

Why Would I Need an Implied Confidential Relationship?

If you invent a product, you may wish to pitch it to potential manufacturers or distributors. While doing this increases your chances of having a commercially successful product, it also increases the risk that someone will steal your invention. Although the best way to protect your invention is with a patent, sometimes you may be unable to get a patent or may wish to discuss business deals before going through the patent process. If you lack patent protection and are unable to get a manufacturer or distributor to sign a nondisclosure agreement, you may want to establish an implied confidential relationship to protect your rights to your invention.

How Do I Establish an Implied Confidential Relationship?

To establish an implied confidential relationship you have to show that both parties intended to enter into a confidential relationship. Some common factors used to prove this are:

It is critical that there must be some showing of intention to keep the information confidential.

What Happens if Someone Breaks an Implied Confidential Relationship?

If you are able to establish the fact that you have an implied confidential relationship with someone and that person divulges information about your invention, you can sue them for damages.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Establish an Implied Confidential Relationship?

If you are concerned about the safety of your rights to your invention, or if you think an implied confidential relationship has been violated, you may want to speak with a patent lawyer. An experienced patent lawyer can tell you if your rights have been violated and can bring a suit for damages.

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Last Modified: 01-04-2012 04:22 PM PST

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