A nondisclosure agreement is an agreement between you and someone who may be interested in your invention. By signing a nondisclosure agreement, the other person agrees to not steal or disclose information about your invention.

Why Would I Want to Use a Nondisclosure Agreement?

If you want to pitch an invention to a potential manufacturer or distributor, you want to ensure that they won’t steal your idea. One way to protect your invention is by using a nondisclosure agreement. A nondisclosure agreement can offer you protection if your invention isn’t eligible for patent pending status, or if you don’t want to go through the patent process.

What Should I Include in My Nondisclosure Agreement?

Your nondisclosure agreement should include:

  • What is and is not confidential – To best protect your invention, you should clearly state the information that you want kept secret. You should also establish what information does not have to be kept secret. You cannot require a person to keep quiet about information that they knew about before your disclosure.
  • Obligations of the other person – You will generally want to establish that the other person cannot breach the agreement, cannot induce others to breach the agreement, or induce others to get your confidential information through improper means.
  • Time periods – You will need to decide how long the information must be kept confidential. The standard period of time is about 5 years.

What Happens if Someone Violates My Nondisclosure Agreement?

If someone violates your nondisclosure agreement and uses your confidential information, you can sue for damages.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Help Me with My Nondisclosure Agreement Issues?

If you are considering entering into a nondisclosure agreement, or if someone has breached your nondisclosure agreement, you may want to consider contacting a patent lawyer. An experienced intellectual property lawyer can help you draft an agreement that satisfies your confidentiality needs and can represent you in court if a dispute arises.