How can I protect my innovative idea? – A page from the playbook and sample NDA by Benjamin Fechner

How can I protect my innovative idea against copycats? – This may well be the first question to be asked upon conception of an idea. If that question is not answered to satisfaction, the innovation may later be stillborn.

Your innovative concept can only turn into successful business, if you are fast to implement your innovation. In order to be fast, you need support. Support requires sharing. Sharing requires trust. Still, you need a satisfactory answer to that first question: How can I protect my innovative idea against copycats?

In discussions, we hear that question a lot. The answer can be complex, since an innovative concept typically has multiple facets that require different means of protection. Ideally, all those people that the innovator needs to talk to should obligate themselves to secrecy. But how can that be achieved?

Our contribution discusses a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) as an instrument to initially protect the innovation. The contribution comprises a brief summary of elements that an NDA should have, free template terms for use in an NDA, and a few comments that should help understand why the template terms were included and drafted as shown.

Read Benjamin’s full contribution and see template terms of a non-disclosure agreement.

The author:

Benjamin Fechner is a German patent attorney. Benjamin specializes on startup companies. For more information on Benjamin, visit his personal website.