Mum's The Word

Keeping your idea confidential

By Don Debelak

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Entrepreneur magazine, January 2000

During his diabetes monitoring product's research phase,inventor Kazi Ahmed, owner of NuMedics, set up a focus group withpeople who counsel or treat diabetics. But how could he be surethey'd keep his idea under wraps? Attorneys typically tellinventors to get a Statement of Confidentiality and Non-Use (whichAhmed used) from people to whom they reveal their idea. I find manypeople resist signing this statement, and that sets up anatmosphere of mistrust, especially with industry people who arejust there to help you with informed product input.

Fortunately, there's another tactic for accomplishing thesame agreement to secrecy. Ask people to sign a Technical AdvisorAgreement in which they agree to provide you with occasional inputregarding your product during its development stage. As part of theagreement, the advisor agrees to keep any proprietary informationconfidential. The end result? Your secret's safe with them.

Contact Sources

NuMedics, (503) 291-9190,

Don Debelak is a new-business marketing consultant and theauthor of Bringing Your Product to Market (John Wiley &Sons). Send him your invention questions at

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