A Confidentiality Agreement is a contract signed by two parties, acknowledging that a concept or idea is being disclosed to one party by the other, with the understanding that the party being shown the idea or concept will not use the idea or concept, or disclose the information to anyone else, unless given permission in writing by the party disclosing the idea or concept.
Confidentiality Agreements, also called Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA) can be very complicated or very simple. We use a simple one-page agreement, which can be found in the Market University Product Marketing Kit.
WHEN SHOULD YOU USE AN NDA?
Use an NDA anytime you are showing your idea or disclosing information about your idea to a potential partner, a manufacturer, a potential licensee, or anyone you feel may benefit from your idea. Many inventors use NDA's when having a prototype made, which is not a bad idea.
Some people feel that having an NDA with a company offers more protection than a patent, because the NDA says that the person signing is being shown confidential information with the agreement to not use it unless otherwise specified.
You will find that no large company is going to steal your idea, with or without a confidentiality agreement, because it is just bad business. For this very reason, you will find that a lot of companies will not look at your idea unless you sign their NDA. That is fine. As long as there is an NDA involved, and you receive a copy with the company representative's signature, you are in the safe zone.