Basic business contracts: Non-disclosure agreement
One of the first documents any new company needs is a standard non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to protect its intellectual property, processes and plans. Confidential information shared with partners, vendors and employees should be under terms of a legal contract. The inestimable damage when information is provided to competitors or made public could devastate a company’s revenues and assets.
An NDA may be one-sided or mutual, providing equal protection to the other opportunity. While there are several sites that offer the ability to create simple agreements, remember the importance of what is at stake. Seriously consider having a discussion with your attorney about confidentiality and other agreements that you might need.
A basic agreement should cover what information is considered confidential, definitions, any exclusions to it (such as public information), obligations of the recipient (or both parties in a mutual agreement), the term of the agreement and any relationships, severability, integration, or waivers that might apply.
Note: It might seem obvious, but never sign an agreement before it is sent. Changes might be made afterward to your detriment. Also, secure executed NDAs physically and electronically with other important documents.