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Author Topic: How do I write or obtain a NDA?  (Read 2239 times)

mighty

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How do I write or obtain a NDA?
« on: 08-08-11 at 01:28 pm »

I would like to present my idea to someone, but I know nothing about Non-Disclosure Agreements. Do these have to be written from scratch, or is there some formula to follow ( a 'fill-in-the-blank'?)

Does the NDA need to be specific to the invention, or does it basically just state that what I'm about to show you must be kept secret?

Do I need to hire a lawyer to write up a sound NDA, or can I do it myself?

Also, should I have a notary or such witness the signing of the NDA? I'm worried that if no one knows that we made an agreement, I'll never be able to prove the agreement was ever made.

I'm a bit paranoid of messing up the NDA, and a technicality ruining my patent hopes...

Any help is much appreciated

Thanks!
Mighty
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Robert K S

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Re: How do I write or obtain a NDA?
« Reply #1 on: 08-08-11 at 01:43 pm »

If you're worried about preserving your rights, consider filing a provisional patent application with the USPTO prior to your disclosure.  The provisional application can be filed for a little over $100 if you're a small entity (like an independent inventor).

There's plenty on this forum about provisional applications.  The best advice would be to consult a registered patent attorney or registered patent agent, but if you're trying to do something on the cheap, the provisional may be the best way to protect your interest.
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mighty

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Re: How do I write or obtain a NDA?
« Reply #2 on: 08-08-11 at 02:10 pm »

thanks, robert. I will check that out.
Are provisional patent applications secret, too?
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khazzah

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Re: How do I write or obtain a NDA?
« Reply #3 on: 08-08-11 at 02:30 pm »

A provisional remains secret (outside the PTO, that is) unless and until you file a non-provisional (utility) that claims priority to the provisional. Once you do that, the provisional is public though not published. That is, the provisional is not available through the PTO search site like an issued patent or a published patent application. The provisional is public, however, in the sense that anyone who knows the serial number can download it from Public PAIR or order it from the PTO.

If you never file a non-provisional (utility) application, your provisional will never be public.
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mighty

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Re: How do I write or obtain a NDA?
« Reply #4 on: 08-08-11 at 03:08 pm »

i just read that a provisional application cannot be filed for a 'design invention'. what is that?
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mighty

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Re: How do I write or obtain a NDA?
« Reply #5 on: 08-08-11 at 03:12 pm »

do you recommend I still get a patent attorney to write up the provisional application? Do people normally just do it themselves?
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bleedingpen

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Re: How do I write or obtain a NDA?
« Reply #6 on: 08-08-11 at 03:52 pm »

Provisional patents written by individual inventors are generally going to be junk. 
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Wiscagent

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Re: How do I write or obtain a NDA?
« Reply #7 on: 08-08-11 at 04:50 pm »

I would like to present my idea to someone, but I know nothing about Non-Disclosure Agreements. Do these have to be written from scratch, or is there some formula to follow ( a 'fill-in-the-blank'?)

Does the NDA need to be specific to the invention, or does it basically just state that what I'm about to show you must be kept secret?

Do I need to hire a lawyer to write up a sound NDA, or can I do it myself?

There are probably boiler-plate NDA’s available on the internet or in “patents for inventors” books; or you could contact an attorney.

But I suggest that before you start filling in the blanks, or writing a check to a lawyer, start by documenting your ideas and invention.  I wrote (i) ideas  and (ii) invention.  Those are usually related, but separate items of intellectual property. 

For example, suppose I just developed a new method of removing spider webs from the outside of a house.  (I could use an invention like that.)  The invention itself might have a bunch of parts and pieces or chemicals arranged in a particular manner.  And the invention would probably include a method of using my gadget; and how to make the gadget.  All that stuff is potentially patentable.

But I would probably have a bunch of ideas on how to market or sell my idea.  (If I could only borrow $100,000,000, I could get the naming rights to the stadium!)  I might have a brand name in mind (Trademark).  I might have written a booklet about getting rid of spiders (Copyright).  I might know just the right guy with contacts in the right country where I could get the gadget built.  (Trade Secret).

So work on that inventory.  Make sure you know what you possess before you even start writing that NDA.

Now consider, why do you need an NDA?  What are you going to reveal to the other party?  Or more importantly, what do you need to reveal to the other party?

Do you trust the other party?  If you don’t trust, then stop the negotiation before it starts.  Trust, of course is a matter of degree, but if you start by thinking that the other guy is trying to screw you over, it will be a long, frustrating negotiation.  Keep in mind, a non-disclosure agreement is a contract; and there is an army of lawyers out there arguing that someone violated a contract.  So the best an NDA can do, is make it painful for the other party to violate your confidence; the NDA can not guarantee their behavior.

Also think about what the other guy has for you.  If I go to a spider eradicator builder and ask for a quote for my new gadget, I’m asking him for information too.  So it is common for NDA’s to be bi-directional.

Good luck.
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Richard Tanzer
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mighty

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Re: How do I write or obtain a NDA?
« Reply #8 on: 08-09-11 at 09:51 am »

I don't understand what you mean by 'document my invention'. How is that different from a patent application?
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Wiscagent

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Re: How do I write or obtain a NDA?
« Reply #9 on: 08-09-11 at 03:16 pm »

A patent application is one way of documenting your invention. 

A well written, signed, and witnessed inventors' notebook is another way.  Also keeping photographs, purchase receipts, and a calendar with various meetings, travel, and phone calls relevant to your invention help document an invention or a potential business venture.

If you can afford it, a well written patent application is probably the best single piece of documentation for the invention per se.  But having the supporting documentation can help too. 

The supporting documentation can be especially valuable if your discussions with your potential customer or vendor include intellectual property that is not discussed in the patent application; including the trade secrets, copyrights, trademarks, and general knowledge of the market.  Those things can be important to the business, not discussed in patent application, and you'd rather not have your potential vendors or customers sharing that information with anyone else.
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Richard Tanzer
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Wiscagent

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Re: How do I write or obtain a NDA?
« Reply #10 on: 08-10-11 at 07:33 am »

Just a follow-up thought ...

If the ONLY thing protected by your NDA is the stuff that's in the patent application, then the NDA essentially dies the day the application publishes.  But if the NDA is drafted more broadly, then the unpublished, but important related information may still be covered by the NDA.
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Richard Tanzer
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Re: How do I write or obtain a NDA?
« Reply #11 on: 09-29-11 at 08:22 am »

I would like to present my idea to someone, but I know nothing about Non-Disclosure Agreements. Do these have to be written from scratch, or is there some formula to follow ( a 'fill-in-the-blank'?)

You could look here: http://integrityip.com/GGL/Patent/Non-DisclosureAgreement.aspx for more important information on NDAs.
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WTF_Over

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Re: How do I write or obtain a NDA?
« Reply #12 on: 09-30-11 at 10:34 am »

I would like to present my idea to someone, but I know nothing about Non-Disclosure Agreements. Do these have to be written from scratch, or is there some formula to follow ( a 'fill-in-the-blank'?)

You could look here: http://integrityip.com/GGL/Patent/Non-DisclosureAgreement.aspx for more important information on NDAs.


Yes, just check between the listings for the "home appendectomy kit" and "procedure for do-it-yourself sex change", it should be readily apparent to one who requests this sort of information on an anonymous forum that whipping one of these things up is no big deal.

Not that anyone in the business of receiving product pitches would ever sign an NDA from an individual inventor...
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Dazed-n-confused

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Re: How do I write or obtain a NDA?
« Reply #13 on: 09-30-11 at 11:13 am »

Yes, just check between the listings for the "home appendectomy kit" and "procedure for do-it-yourself sex change", it should be readily apparent to one who requests this sort of information on an anonymous forum that whipping one of these things up is no big deal.

I think the ACME Home Root Canal Kit is a little more challenging but the graphics and instructions are much better than Ikea's.

Seriously, WTF_Dude, is it time for a beer or three?
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