Non-disclosure agreement

In order to avoid disclosing your idea or having it stolen by collaborating with third parties, sign a non-disclosure agreement at the beginning of your project!

When to sign an NDA?

Une question revient souvent lors de premiers contacts entre un inventeur et un cabinet de propriĂ©tĂ© industrielle : “Devons-nous signer un contrat de confidentialité ?”

Dans la grande majorité des cas, lorsque l’on divulgue son invention à quelqu’un avant le dépôt et même la publication de son brevet, il est fortement conseillé de signer un contrat de confidentialité. Un excès de confiance peut emmener à la perte de titres de propriété ou de possibles titres de propriété industrielle dans le futur. Dès lors, l’inventeur, ou la société peut voir tous ses investissements en R&D réduit à néant.

Dans le cas d’un inventeur, ou une entreprise face à un cabinet de propriété industrielle, la question de la signature d’un contrat de confidentialité pourrait donc être légitime de la part de l’inventeur ou de la société. L’invention est un projet de longue haleine qui a généralement pris beaucoup de temps, parfois d’argent.

A wondering often comes up during first exchanges between an inventor and an industrial property firm: “Do we have to sign a non-disclosure agreement?”

In most of the cases, when disclosing an invention to someone before filing and even publishing a patent, it is strongly advised to sign a non-disclosure agreement. An excess of confidence can lead to the loss of potential property titles in the future. As a result, the inventor, or the company, may see all its R&D investments reduced to nothing.

In the case of an inventor, or a company facing an industrial property firm, the question of signing an NDA could therefore be legitimate. Invention is a long term project that usually takes a lot of time and sometimes money.

Do I have to sign an NDA with my IP attorney?

Although in most of the cases of negotiations or discussions around an innovation the NDA should be an automatism, there are cases in which they are unnecessary.

Article L. 422-11 of the Intellectual Property Code states that: “in all matters and for all services (…), the Industrial Property Attorney shall observe professional secrecy. This secrecy extends to consultations addressed or intended for his client, to professional correspondence exchanged with his client, a colleague or a lawyer, to interview notes and, more generally, to all documents in the file”.

This means that an Industrial Property Attorney is subject to absolute professional secrecy in all his exchanges, whether they are by telephone, email or mail.

This article of the Intellectual Property Code was introduced to allow “Industrial Property Attorneys, to be exempted from testifying, to invoke professional secrecy under the conditions provided in Articles 109 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and 206 of the New Code of Civil Procedure. In particular, it will protect them from an obligation to disclose correspondence exchanged with a client in the context of civil proceedings instituted abroad” (Explanatory memorandum of the bill of February 11, 2004).

It is therefore useless to sign an NDA, with an Industrial Property firm or attorney, which, like lawyers, are subject to professional secrecy.

YesMyPatent service

In the case where an invention must be disclosed, whether to a raw material supplier, an R&D office or a neighbor specialized in communication, it is essential to sign a non-disclosure agreement with the appropriate industrial property mentions.

A simple example of a contract found on the internet is not enough! It will not protect the industrial property aspects of your invention. And in case of patents, the disclosure of an invention will prevent its protection by patent.

It is therefore important that the NDA covers all the aspects to be protected and is tailor-made.