When starting a new business protecting the original idea is often a primary concern. Yet, the idea often times has to be shared with potential investors, collaborators, partners, employees, etc. in order to get the business started. Additionally, many start-ups do not have sufficient capital to pursue trademarks and patents to protect their ideas at the initial stage. Some may not even have ideas which are novel enough to rise to the level of patent worthy. Not to mention the fact that filing a patent is a lengthy process and applications can even put potential competitors on notice of your idea. So, most small businesses in the initial start-up and development stages rely heavily upon non-disclosure agreements(NDAs). Though, in recent years many investors have turned up their noses at NDAs as an entrepreneur, they are an essential tool in your legal protection arsenal and thanks to recent case law they have become a bit more powerful if written properly.
A recent case Orthofix, Inc. v. Hunter, (Nov. 17, 2015) has changed the way we look at NDAs. Courts have now stated that they no longer need to be limited in time and area, thus making NDAs far more powerful and valuable provided they are carefully tailored in their definitions of confidential information. To read the full details and some of the implications of Orthofix, Inc. v. Hunter, see: Non-Disclosure Agreement Enforceable Although Unlimited In Time And Area– Trading Secrets