Confidentiality Agreements-Do I need one?

The importance of a good confidentiality agreement cannot be overstated for an intellectual property owner.  Whether your are a copyright, trademark, patent or trade secret owner it is crucial to have a good confidentiality agreement in place to protect your intellectual property.  Having a good confidentiality agreement protects against another profitting from your IP without your consent.

However, these confidentiality agreements need to be clearly drafted to define the confidential information, the permitted uses, exclusions to avoid overreaching, and avoid any implied transfer of your intellectual property rights.  For example, an author should always have a good confidentiality agreement before submitting any work to a publisher to protect his copyrights. A new joint venture may require disclosure of business processes to an unknown partner or a potential competitor, without a good confidentiality agreement you could end up training your future competitors.   

Finally, a good confidentiality agreement is crucial to employers and employees as well to ensure potential conflicts or disputes that may occur upon a separation of employment.  Taking the time to create a confidentiality agreement before undertaking a new business venture or hiring a unknown employee can prove invaluable in protecting the IP assets you have worked hard to develop!

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