A non-disclosure agreement, sometimes referred to as a confidentiality agreement, is a legally binding document that protects a product or process that you have invented from being disclosed by another party. If you do not want information about your invention to enter the public domain, then you should draw one up prior to meeting another party to discuss your idea. A non-disclosure agreement can provide 'peace of mind' and, in theory, should prevent your idea from being 'stolen'!
For a non-disclosure agreement to be valid you must:
- have designs, prototypes, formulas, etc; not just thoughts in your head!
- never have discussed your idea with another party, eg comments in e-mails, a casual chat with someone at a trade exhibition, etc.
While you do not need to seek the services of a solicitor to draw up a non-disclosure agreement, it probably is wise to do so, in order for it to be as comprehensive as possible.