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Protective Clothing

Can I show people my designs without losing the shirt off my back?

This story appears in the May 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Question: I'm in the process of creating more than 50 new imprinted T-shirts, whose designs can also be used for bumper stickers, posters, buttons and more. How can I protect my ideas, slogans, phrases and logos when showing and discussing them with professional graphic artists or companies I hire to help me get professional-quality final designs?

Aslam Romani

Via e-mail

Answer: First, before showing your creative product to anyone, get him or her to sign a nondisclosure agreement (NDA). An NDA, which identifies what you're protecting, covers confidentiality, circulation, duplication and use of the information being provided. An at-torney can prepare your NDA, or you can prepare it yourself, preferably with an attorney reviewing it. You don't want to use someone else's NDA, because they almost always favor whoever writes them. Having a formal NDA may scare off a few people, but it lets the rest know you're serious and fully prepared to use the law to protect your interest.

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