What is a Non-Disclosure Agreement and When You Need It

by | Dec 2, 2020 | industrial design company, Inventors, Product Design, Prototyping

The patent or invention non-disclosure agreement is a Unilateral non-disclosure agreement (NDA) that is used to protect an invention. Due to the confidential nature of an unexecuted idea for a product, an NDA can be essential to the owner of the invention when they choose to disclose the ideas, business strategies, prototypes, etc. to potential investors, developers, and the like. Even owners of patented inventions can fall victim to damages of misappropriated data. It is recommended that an NDA is used before and after the patenting process. The disclosing party should have the receiving party sign the documentation first while stating the confidential nature of the information at hand.

Austin Invention Design Firm

According to our Austin invention design firm, every NDA should have at least the following specifications:


  • What not to disclose.
  • A non-disclosure period.
  • Specifications about when signatories are free to disclose information, such as a product announcement or if the idea has been made public.

When Do I Need a Non-Disclosure Agreement?

You use an NDA before you patent your idea. You should also use an NDA whenever you share something valuable about your idea. Here are some situations where you could find yourself needing an NDA:


  • Pitching your idea to an investor, corporation, partner or distributor.
  • Hiring a company such as a design firm, marketing company, product development firm, or any company that will be given access to confidential information.
  • When employees have access to sensitive information.
  • When discussing the sale or licensing of the idea.
Austin Invention Design Firm

Always have your own NDA when sharing information about your idea. If you are pitching your idea to companies that take product idea submissions, they will usually make you sign their own NDA.

In some cases, an NDA will not be enough. Some companies won’t even review your submission if your idea is not patented. And some companies will refuse to sign NDAs for legal purposes, then send you a legal document right after a submission indicating that they have the right to work on ideas similar to yours. This is usually procedural, but we agree that it is nerve-wracking. To be on the safe side, it is best to file a patent before any presentations, even if it’s a provisional patent.

Whichever is the case, the most important thing is to be prepared. At Mako Design + Invent, we use this NDA. Feel free to download a copy and contact our Austin invention design firm to review your idea.

If you have a great new invention and you’d like to learn more about this process, get in touch with MAKO here and visit our website to find out more. Feel free to give us a call at +1 (888) 806-6256 (MAKO) and we can set you up on a call with our product analyst!


Article Author: MAKO Design + Invent

Article Author: MAKO Design + Invent

Company Team

MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm in North America for providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, inventors, and small manufacturers. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop-shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices from coast-to-coast to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, patent referral, prototyping, and manufacturing services. To assist our startup and inventor clients, in addition to above, we help with business strategy, product strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories.



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