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What you should know about non-disclosure agreements

If you own a small business, you likely understand the value (and the power of) innovation. If you understand this concept, you likely already know that innovation does not happen overnight, or by oneself. Essentially, a small business grows through strategic partnerships.

But when parties get together to further each other’s business interests, they must understand their respective obligations in order for the relationship to work. Because of this, non-disclosure agreements are commonly used. For the uninitiated, non-disclosure agreements are contracts where each party pledges to keep certain information used in the relationship confidential. 

These agreements are used when a business intends to disclose trade secrets or other forms of confidential information to another business or party while building a relationship. A non-disclosure agreement sets the rules and expectations regarding the use of such information. They may include certifications of the authenticity of such information, and who is responsible for taking steps to ensure that it is protected.

Non-disclosure agreements also include provisions for giving a party a legal remedy in the event the information is misused. Essentially, an aggrieved party can seek an injunction barring the offending from using the information, and money damages may be awarded if the non-disclosure agreement is breached.

But like many recipes for chocolate cake, not every non-disclosure agreement is the same, even though certain elements will always be present. If you have questions about whether you should have such an agreement, or what yours should include, an experienced business law attorney can advise you. 

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