Sheehan & Associates, P.L.C.

What's a nondisclosure agreement?

What is a nondisclosure agreement?

A nondisclosure agreement is an agreement, or contract, that binds individuals into secrecy. Essentially, this is used to make sure employees won't share trade secrets with others in similar businesses. These agreements may prevent sharing information while employed or during other kinds of business transactions.

Because high-tech and informational fields change at a rapid pace, confidentiality, or nondisclosure, agreements are used often. They help protect the companies from having incidents where apps, programs, or other items are sold to competitors.

Are patents better than trade secrets?

Patents are part of the public domain, but that's different than a trade secret since it can be seen by anyone. Trade secrets are, for all intents and purposes, completely secret and give the owner of that secret an advantage against his competitors. Instead of patenting this information, nondisclosure agreements are used to keep the secrets within the company's walls.

What happens if a confidentiality agreement is violated?

If someone violates a confidentiality agreement, it's possible for the company to fire the person and seek damages. Nondisclosure agreements typically define what the confidential information includes, any exclusions, the obligations of the person to keep the secret, how long the NDA lasts, and provisions. It may also say what happens if the person violates the terms of the agreement.

If you've had an employee violate an NDA, it's important that you work to get back the damages you deserve. Losing the idea that your company is based on can be challenging or ruin your company; it's fair to seek compensation.

Source: FindLaw, "A Nondisclosure Agreement," accessed March 30, 2016

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