A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is a contract for ensuring confidentiality. Just like how you’d be in trouble with a friend if you shared a secret they’d had told you, only the NDA is legally binding. Sharing inside knowledge about something you are working on after signing one of those is a sure way to put the hurt on yourself.
There are three main functions of an NDA:
- NDAs protect sensitive information.
- In dealing with new product or concept development, and NDA can be used to help the creator keep their patent rights.
- Outlining what is a secret and what’s fair game for your Sunday brunch gossip.
Pretty much any information can be protected by an NDA. Think passwords, software, system specifications, as just a few examples. Some will go all out, protecting anything and everything as far as the eye can see within a project; most, apparently, are pretty lenient though and if you read through one that sounds a bit weird, you can ask the client for a review before signing. It’s not a be all and end all document, and the version that gets passed over right at the start doesn’t ever have to be final if you have any questions or suggestions about making changes.
For The Crystal Cup, an NDA could be used to protect something like the results from the survey the other week. It wouldn’t really need to be intensive, it wouldn’t be the first cafe to connect with the new age lifestyle and so it can’t really be patented anyway. Maybe for some of the assets, as well, for example nobody is allowed to say the name of the business outside of project working hours.