What is an NDA + Why Do Inventors Need One? MAKO Design

What is an NDA and Why You Need One Prior to Any Invention Consultation

As a world-class product development firm, we help startups and inventors create successful product businesses. We provide plenty of resources to help inventors get started on their journey. This includes material on how to create an invention, how to get your invention to market, and – especially in today’s competitive business environment – the importance of a non-disclosure agreement (NDA).

Intro: What is an NDA and Why You Need One Prior to Any Invention Consultation

What Is The Meaning Of An NDA & Why You Need One Prior to Any Invention Consultation

An NDA is a Non-Disclosure Agreement. It’s an agreement that is legally binding. The meaning of a Non-disclosure agreement suggests that the party or parties signing the agreement must obey the terms listed in the contract.

Those who break or breach the agreement will be held legally responsible. In terms of stating the NDA meaning and particulars for invention makers, the party or parties who sign the agreement all agree that the sensitive information communicated to one another may not be disclosed to any others.

It’s an agreement that ensures the relationship between all parties remains confidential. Once all the parties involved sign the NDA, information may be shared with confidence.

What Is the Purpose of a Non-Disclosure Agreement?

The singing process of an NDA often occurs at the beginning of a business relationship. For example, a new employee at a bank would have to sign an NDA if they’re privy to other people’s personal or commercial financial information. In the case of hiring a product development business, an NDA for invention makers should be signed prior to discussions about your idea.

What Is The Purpose of a Non-Disclosure Agreement / NDA Meaning For Inventors

Reasons to Obtain an NDA

The process of taking an idea to a product can be incredibly exciting, but it is also time-consuming. Obtaining an NDA is respecting the craft that you are creating. Not to mention, this legally binding agreement also provides relief for:

1. Protecting Your Invention

The promulgation of a pending invention can sometimes result in the undoing of patent rights. However, an NDA can become a safeguard for an inventor as they continue to develop their product and concept.

2. Providing Clarity On What Data Is Confidential

NDAs can be incredibly helpful when setting boundaries within employees and/or those you bring on board for your invention. They provide unspoken clarity for any needs that should be performed with caution and that there are indeed consequences for leaking information.

3. Preserving Business Relationships

When forming long-term business relationships, NDAs can play a big role cognitively. For example, the flow of the relationship will be based on expectations in writing from the start. You will be able to ensure everyone is on the same page and as a reference if any disagreements arise. 

The Reasons An Inventor Needs To Obtain A Non Disclosure Agreement Meaning

Types Of NDAs For Inventors + The Non-Disclosure Agreement Meanings

As an inventor, it’s critical to know that there are three types of NDA prospects. This allows you to select the best legal protection for your business.

1. Unilateral

A unilateral NDA is for the purpose of one party agreeing not to reveal confidential information. This is one of the more common types of NDA for revealing privileged information about partners, employees, stakeholders, and advisors. Now, for inventors, a unilateral NDA doesn’t only just protect your invention from being patented, marketed by an evaluator, or used. It also protects a variety of business operations, such as accounting, data, intellectual property, and customer information.

2. Mutual

Mutual NDAs are used when both parties have agreed that they will not be revealing confidential information. Not to mention, both parties can place a restrain on how each other will utilize and share the intelligence. It’s typically for corporate changes, mergers and acquisitions, as well collaborative ventures.

From a legal standpoint, both unilateral and mutual NDAs are the exact same when it comes to the same sort of consequences for a breach.

3. Multiparty

In this case, multiparty nondisclosure agreements suggest the option to eliminate the desire for separate unilateral and mutual NDA’s, if there is more than three parties involved. It is almost like forming all of the puzzle pieces together as a whole picture. For instance, you can use a single multiparty NDA for the three parties involved.

At first, it may sound complicated, but it’s to ensure the process of more convoluted business transactions remains organized with multiple parties involved. Not to mention, each party forms an understanding that they will be only exercising privileged information. The parties then decide if they are interested in moving into further compliance.

The Types of NDA's

What to Include in an NDA For Inventors

When proceeding with an NDA, it’s important to personalize it as much as possible to ensure any generalization can’t be misinterpreted. This includes:


To start, you should identify all parties and accurate contract addresses that will be in the agreement. This includes attorneys, business partners, managers, and accountants.

Clear + Concise NDA Meaning’s + Definitions

You should provide in-depth details regarding the different attributes in the agreement and initiate boundaries regarding the best practices. It is there so it can answer any questions of what intelligence is classified.

Understanding Consequence

NDAs should also provide what the repercussions are if there is a breach in the agreement. This is to ensure that there is no misunderstanding, and it addresses the importance of keeping private information private.

Time Period

Like everything else in life, NDAs have expiry dates. It’s crucial to thoroughly state the number of years for which the information must remain exclusive.

Returning Information

If a partnership or employee relationship comes to a close, it’s critical to include whether the information needs to be returned or, alternatively, destroyed. Not to mention providing a layout of unclassified information. This can include public domain resources, formerly communicated insight, and disclosed information prior to entering the respected affiliations.

What to Include in an NDA For Inventors

Steps to Take if Someone Violates Your NDA

It’s important to solidify a course of action if a violation of the NDA meaning and details occurs. The steps and particulars can consist of:

Contact Your Attorney

Employing an attorney ensures the likelihood of a positive process. This allows you to surrender the evidence in an appropriate manner, and your public and company image stays intact.


Having an NDA provides a sense of security in terms of confirming that the law is on your side. However, you should know that misappropriation (theft) of trade secrets is still criminal without an NDA. For example, hacking devices and servers, employee bribery from competitive companies for private information, and the hired hand publishes classified information to a media outlet.


Even if you read the NDA multiple times before the violation occurred, you should thoroughly revisit the NDA with your attorney or legal assistant.

The Evidence

Compiling confirmation of an offence often needs to happen quite quickly. You could employ an investigator to probe the method of breach and or misappropriation, the information used and published, and the chain of the breach. Not to mention, an investigator can also provide cross-examinations with parties involved with respect and dignity.

File For Damages

The employed attorney can assist you in understanding the type of lawsuit you need to file against the individual. In this case, a breach of contract. Additionally, the attorney will also provide advice on the business litigations that are appropriate for you to be filing.

These sorts of lawsuits can involve copyright infringement, misappropriation of trade secrets, patent infringement, and or contravention of fiduciary security.

Steps to Take if Someone Violates The NDA

What Happens If You Break an Enforceable NDA?

Lawsuits are typically the first step. They are used by the party who committed the violation through the ongoing exploitation of information from the agreement. The party in breach is subject to lawsuits revolving around intellectual property contravention. This can include copyright infringement and encroaching fiduciary duty.

In conclusion, the court can impose financial compensation and legal costs corresponding with the case. Not to mention, if the NDA is an obligatory condition, your employment may become ceased.

What happens when someone violates a Non Disclosure Agreement

Non-Disclosure Agreements: Frequently Asked Questions

How serious is an NDA?

If an NDA has resulted in a breach, it can initiate civil and criminal penalties. It’s important to employ a lawyer to understand each part of the terms in your agreement before proceeding.

What does an NDA protect against?

The primary purpose of a nondisclosure agreement is to create security between parties who may disclose confidential and proprietary information and or trade secrets. In layman’s terms, an NDA secures private business information.

How much does it cost to create a non-disclosure agreement?

This can depend on the type of NDA you need and the complexity – not to mention, the hourly rate of your attorney.

Frequently Asked Questions

Final Notes

At MAKO Design + Invent, we take intellectual property protection extremely seriously. So when we say we provide world-class services, it goes beyond just product development. We offer free invention consultations and we do it with the understanding that there may be sensitive information discussed in these consultations.

Whether you want to develop a CAD or a prototype, we understand you’re trusting us to bring your dream invention to life. We don’t take this trust lightly. So prior to this consultation, we ensure the NDA for inventors is signed.

We sign this document with all of our clients and even prospective clients to ensure that we have confidential and secure discussions surrounding the invention idea and proprietary information in detail.

About: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. 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 to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial designmechanical engineeringelectrical engineeringpatent referralprototyping, 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. Also, our founder Kevin Mako hosts The Product Startup Podcast, the industry's leading hardware podcast. Check it out for tips, interviews, and best practices for hardware startups, inventors, and product developers. Click HERE to learn more about MAKO Design + Invent!

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