The business world requires a great extent of interaction between clients, suppliers, partners, shareholders, and the like. Interaction can lead to the dissemination of information that may be valuable to you or your company. Some information shared will need to be protected and kept confidential to secure trade secrets.
A Non-Disclosure Agreement, typically called an NDA, is a contract that disallows the other party to divulge confidential information or trade secrets without proper authorization. NDAs are common contracts in the business and commercial trade. When companies or individuals decide to share information among each other, a Non-Disclosure Agreement restricts any of those parties to share trade secrets to a third party.
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Types of Non-Disclosure Agreements
Non-Disclosure Agreements can come in different templates based on their purpose. To put it simply, a Non-Disclosure Agreement may be classified into three different types:
Unilateral Non-Disclosure Agreement
A Unilateral NDA, also called a one-way NDA, is a type of agreement used when only one company has the ability to expose confidential information.
Bilateral Non-Disclosure Agreement
Bilateral NDAs or Mutual NDAs are Non-Disclosure Agreements made when both parties are at risk of having confidential information shared. Bilateral NDAs are commonly used when doing partnerships or mergers with another company.
In some cases when only one party is deemed to divulge confidential information, the other party will sometimes request for a Mutual NDA anticipating that information from their side will eventually be shared in order for the transaction to take place.
Multilateral Non-Disclosure Agreement
When there are three or more parties involved, a multilateral non-disclosure agreement helps to protect everyone’s interest.
Not all information you get is considered sensitive information or secrets of trade. However, anything used in business that sets it apart from others or has independent economic value from being kept from the public is what needs to be protected. Recipes, documents or material, inventions, or even a contact list of clients are considered valuable assets to the company and are at risk of being used, imitated, or reproduced by competitors.
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Elements of an NDA
List the Parties Involved
First of all, your Non-Disclosure Agreement should contain the name or a list of names who are expected to come in contact with the confidential piece of information.
Stating Confidential Relationships
The Non-Disclosure Agreement should contain an enumeration of the confidential material themselves with a clear indication of the sensitivity of the information.
Consent to Divulge Data
There will be instances when confidential information needs to be divulged, especially when required by law or in times of judicial processes.
Breach of NDAs
Non-Disclosure Agreements are governed by law, thus, an entity or individual who violates a Non-Disclosure Agreement could be sued for damages. Damages are typically gauged according to the severity of harm done to the non-breaching party.
A Non-Disclosure Agreement is an important document especially within trade and commerce. However, protecting your rights and your trade secrets does not rely solely on the other party but on you, as a business owner, as well.
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