When you share information with another party without confidentiality, it is considered publishing. This can be detrimental to a patent application that is yet to be filed, because it compromises novelty. An NDA is a good solution for those who wish to share information about the invention in confidence with potential collaboration partners or investors. If an NDA is not possible, you must clearly and provably indicate in advance that the information being shared is confidential and should be treated as such.
Non-disclosure agreement (NDA)
A potential collaboration often begins with a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). After all, secrecy is crucial to a patent application; you don't want to damage novelty. Before anything else, an NDA is a test, a good way to get a taste of how the other party is ‘in the game’. If someone doesn't want to sign the NDA, ask for the reason - and ask yourself if you want to do business with this party. It is best to have some basic NDAs tailored to your business. With a one-sided NDA, you are committing a potential partner to confidentiality after showing them your technology. But often you will use a two-sided NDA in which both parties commit to confidentiality.
Sharing in confidentiality
When sharing confidential information with third parties without an NDA, it is best to limit yourself to the main points. If you do share some details, this can already have significant consequences. For example, the scope of protection of an eventual patent may have to be severely curtailed. Sometimes a meaningful patent is not even possible in the end. When in doubt, it is therefore wise to consult with a patent attorney about the risks before publication. After filing the application, you can in principle publish the invention. But it is better to wait until the priority year has expired. This is because if new insights are gained in this priority year, they are easier to patent when the original invention has not yet been disclosed. One and a half years after the filing of the patent application, the Patent Office publishes your application. This means that the application is public and you can also publish it yourself.
Support from experts
In collaboration with our patent attorneys, our attorneys-at-law are ready to advise you on the safe sharing of information and the drafting of an NDA. Using this NDA Checklist, you can determine what you would most like to see covered in the agreement. V.O.'s legal practice offers a wide range of legal services in the field of intellectual property and is characterized by short lines of communication and customized service.