With any business, entrepreneurs need a partnership with the advisors who have expert knowledge in different fields to truly thrive. However, the question remains, “How do I protect my intellectual property during the process of launching my idea while I enlist the help of other professionals?”
Suppose you’ve created a new sauce for your restaurant. You ask your friends to try it and get their opinions on it. They ask, “What’s in this? It’s awesome!” Given their positive feedback, you then contact a food vendor to order the ingredients for your new sauce and then call a packaging company to create pouches for your condiment. You make an appointment with your business advisor to discuss your finances and determine how much you should invest in marketing this new product. You then train your employees on how to make the new sauce. There’s just one issue, though: as you’re preparing to launch your new secret sauce to the public, your competitor has already started a new marketing campaign featuring their new sauce that is suspiciously similar to yours. How could this situation have been avoided?
In this situation, you, the restaurant owner, should’ve had an NDA created. The basic purpose of an NDA, also known as a non-disclosure agreement, is to protect sensitive information. It should be implemented whenever confidentiality is crucial, during instances when sharing information between two parties is necessary but the information itself needs to be kept confidential from the general public.
Generally speaking, an NDA should include a description of the information that should be kept confidential, under which circumstances the signing party may use the confidential information, and the terms of the agreement. No business or NDA is exactly alike, so enlist the help of a contract attorney to write up an agreement that specifically suits your situation. Any discrepancies or loopholes could hurt you in the end.