A non-disclosure agreement is a contract requiring specific parties to keep certain information confidential.
- Sharing proprietary or private information with another person or business.
- Using another business’ or individual’s proprietary information for business purposes.
A non-disclosure agreement – also known as a confidentially agreement or secrecy agreement – is a legal contract that restricts a signatory from disclosing certain private information to parties outside of the agreement. These sorts of agreements are very useful in business activities that rely on the use of trade secrets, intellectual property, or other proprietary business information. However, in general, the owners of the confidential information still control it and they retain the right to disclose it if they so choose.
Non-disclosure agreements have become commonplace in many contractual arrangements. Most new employees sign non-disclosure agreements when starting work at a new company, and non-disclosure agreements are a common part of joint venture or partnership arrangements.
Non-disclosure agreements can cover any information that the parties to the contract wish to keep secret. Certain proprietary business information is protected from disclosure even in the absence of a non-disclosure agreement. For example, civil liability can arise for the publication of trade secrets or intellectual property even if the parties never signed a non-disclosure agreement. However, in order to make sure that everyone with access to private information is aware of their obligation to maintain its secrecy, executing a non-disclosure agreements regularly is a good business practice.