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Nondisclosure agreements can prevent business disputes

Every day, entrepreneurs in Louisiana and elsewhere conduct research, make prototypes and place their new inventions in the marketplace. In some cases, these inventions can lead to lucrative contracts with other businesses who want to purchase or license them. However, the inventor should first take certain steps to protect their idea and prevent the theft or copying of their idea or invention.

A nondisclosure agreement, which is commonly referred to as a confidentiality agreement, can serve an inventor in many ways and provide many benefits. In some cases, an invention is not patentable. A patent could provide a significant amount of protection; however, if an invention cannot be patented, it is important to have potential customers sign a nondisclosure agreement.

If a potential customer refuses to sign a nondisclosure agreement, it is important to be careful what is disclosed throughout the business relationship. If confidential information is shared during discussions, this could end up being harmful to the inventor if a nondisclosure agreement has not been signed and agreed to.

If a nondisclosure agreement has been entered into and the inventor finds out that the other party breached the terms of the agreement, it is possible to sue the customer for any damages arising from the breach of the agreement.

In order to determine whether or not a breach has occurred, the terms of a nondisclosure agreement should be unambiguous. First, the agreement should define what is considered confidential and what is not considered confidential. Next, the agreement must specify the obligation each party has to keep the information a secret. Third, it must state how long this obligation will last. Finally, it must state what will occur if one party breaches the agreement.

If you seek to develop a nondisclosure agreement or you are currently in a business dispute regarding a breach of a nondisclosure agreement, it is important to understand your situation and options available. An attorney who has experience with business litigation and cases involving breach of contract can help outline the matter and how best to navigate it.

Source: Findlaw.com, "How to Protect Your Invention," accessed Jan. 7, 2017

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