Should we sign something before discussing an invention? How? 7 Answers as of September 16, 2015

I do not have a patent for my invention yet, but I want to talk to a company about selling my product. Should I make them sign something to protect my product, like a non-disclosure agreement or something like that?

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Mark Torche | Mark Torche
Dear Inventor, Yes you should use a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) before disclosing your invention if feasible. Many large companies will not sign a NDA as a matter of policy. You should consider discussing all the issues with a patent attorney to see how best to protect your invention. Good luck with your invention.
Answer Applies to: Iowa
Replied: 9/16/2015
Gerald R. Black, Esq.
Gerald R. Black, Esq. | Gerald R. Black
If a Company (prospective assignee/licensee) will sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement before you have an issued patent or even "Patent Pending" (a Patent Application on file in the Patent Office) status, that is good for you. It appears from the gist of your question that you may not even have "Patent Pending" status. I have worked for several large companies and their perspective is that they are doing individual inventors a favor by reviewing their Invention Disclosures. Most companies will not review an Invention Disclosure in confidence, but rather insist that the inventor rely on suing them on his/her Patent rights, if and when they issue. It is quite likely that if the invention has value, that the Company's development team has already thought of it, and your Invention Disclosure will only complicate their lives. We presented some excellent technology to the late Mr. Steve Jobs at Apple, only to find out that Apple has a Company policy not to review any inventions from outside the Company. Good luck with your project!
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 9/16/2015
Sebby Law Office
Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
Yes, get a comprehensive non-disclosure agreement and make everyone you tell or talk to about your invention sign it before you share the information.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 9/16/2015
Law Office of Kirk Buhler
Law Office of Kirk Buhler | Kirk A Buhler
Typically a non-disclosure document is signed. The patent office currently operates on a first-to-file bases so you should have a patent application pending before you discuss or disclosure your invention with a company.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/16/2015
Banner & Witcoff, Ltd. | Ernie Linek
Yes - if you can get them to sign a non-disclosure agreement, it will protect you. BEFORE you visit a company about your product - you should at least file a Provisional Patent Application on the invention. It allows you to say your invention is "patent pending" and it gives the company something to purchase from you - if they like your invention. It must teach how to make and how to use your invention - in sufficient detail that anyone having skill in this art (field of the invention) could make and use your invention without resort to undue experimentation.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 9/16/2015
    Microtechnology Law & Analysis | Daniel Flamm
    Yes, at a minimum you need to have a well-drafted NDA and most preferably should file a provisional application before engaging in any discussions.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/16/2015
    Eminent IP, P.C.
    Eminent IP, P.C. | Paul C. Oestreich
    You should always use a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) if you have confidential information that you do not want publicly disseminated once disclosed to other entities. If the other entity breaches the agreement, you should have an action in contract for breach of the NDA. Of course, you should consult with a patent attorney to fully explore your options with regard to protecting your intellectual property.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 9/16/2015
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