Accessing specialized skills without increasing headcount is attractive to many companies today, including startups as well as established enterprises. It has become commonplace for employers to utilize the services of independent contractors or other third party entities to perform important work for the company.

However, there can be pitfalls to this strategy if precautions are not employed to properly protect the intellectual property of your company. This is typically done through the execution of a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). Here are some tips for creating an enforceable NDA:

Protect prior to sharing. It is not unusual to want to get input from colleagues or friends outside the company about a new idea, but if you have not made a reasonable effort to protect that idea, you could lose ownership if it is stolen. Before you bring others in on your idea, be sure you have an NDA in place to protect it.

Know what you own. If you have left another company to start up a new venture, be sure you review any existing NDAs you may have signed with former employers to ensure that someone else can’t claim any ideas you are bringing to your new company.

Be specific. Be sure the NDA you create is specific when it comes to defining the confidential information you will be sharing, the responsibilities of those who are signing the NDA to maintain secrecy, if any confidential information is excluded from the NDA, the length of time the NDA is in effect, which state laws govern the agreement and an attorney’s fee provision if there is a breach.

Obtain professional input. NDA forms that you find online may not provide the proper protection for your specific needs. To avoid jeopardizing your intellectual property, consult with an experienced business attorney to draft non-disclosure agreements for employees, contractors and other relationships.

Johnson Legal PC specializes in business and corporate law and can assist your organization in achieving its full potential. Contact us to learn more about how a great corporate attorney can help your business thrive.