Mum's The Word
Entrepreneur magazine, January 2000
During his diabetes monitoring product's research phase, inventor Kazi Ahmed, owner of NuMedics, set up a focus group with people who counsel or treat diabetics. But how could he be sure they'd keep his idea under wraps? Attorneys typically tell inventors to get a Statement of Confidentiality and Non-Use (which Ahmed used) from people to whom they reveal their idea. I find many people resist signing this statement, and that sets up an atmosphere of mistrust, especially with industry people who are just there to help you with informed product input.
Fortunately, there's another tactic for accomplishing the same agreement to secrecy. Ask people to sign a Technical Advisor Agreement in which they agree to provide you with occasional input regarding your product during its development stage. As part of the agreement, the advisor agrees to keep any proprietary information confidential. The end result? Your secret's safe with them.
NuMedics, (503) 291-9190, firstname.lastname@example.org
Don Debelak is a new-business marketing consultant and the author of Bringing Your Product to Market (John Wiley & Sons). Send him your invention questions at email@example.com