You are excited – you finally came up with an invention. You cannot wait to get your ideas out there, but before you do, you have to protect yourself. This is done with an NDA. This agreement is almost always warranted when you come up with an invention. Think of it as your protection against anyone stealing your ideas. Even those that you think would be completely innocent and never do anything with your ideas could turn their back on you in the blink of an eye, sometimes consciously and other times subconsciously. In order to prevent anyone from using those stolen ideas, you need to have an executed Non-Disclosure Agreement. This agreement is one of the most important things you can do during the planning and execution stages of your invention.
Even if you are talking to someone in basic terms about your invention, you are giving out your “secret” whether you realize it or not. Even just a few details about your product or service could give someone an idea to start something just as you did. Just like the “secret recipe” KFC has for their chicken that no one can use or copy, your invention should be as discreet as possible. Anyone that you must consult with in order to make your invention work or to get their advice should sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement in order to keep your secrets safe. If you think about the information you are about to disclose, it makes sense to give yourself that extra insurance that the person you are talking to will not talk to others. It does not take long to get the agreement signed and in the end, it might not be the person you spoke to that stole your ideas, but a person that they then talked to after talking to you, so protecting yourself is crucial.
Attorneys are the Exception
The only time you don’t need an NDA is when you are talking with an attorney about your invention. Of course, this discussion would need to be in order to obtain legal counsel in order for there to be client attorney confidentiality. This is true for any attorneys that represent you or do not represent you – patent attorneys are held to the strictest confidence by the United States Patent Office. Any time that you seek any type of legal counsel, your ideas are safe.