Confidentiality Agreement (Mutual)
- Your first template is free
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Whether you're considering selling your business, developing a new product or pitching a business idea, it's tough to completely trust that your hard work won't end up in the wrong hands.
It's a smart idea to protect your valuable information with a Confidentiality Agreement and here we've explained exactly what to include in your agreement and where to find a free template that will make the process a breeze.
A Confidentiality Agreement is a commercial agreement between two or more parties where they agree to protect the sensitive or proprietary information of all relevant parties during the course of their relationship. The expectation is that all parties will keep any disclosed information confidential and use it only for an agreed purpose.
A Confidentiality Agreement should be written and signed before sharing confidential information with another business or person. Confidential information doesn't just include intellectual property, it can also be used to protect sensitive information such as marketing tactics, product details and business operations.
There are many reasons when you might decide one is necessary, with some of the most common reasons including:
Two terms that are often used interchangeably are Confidentiality Agreement and Non Disclosure Agreement making it almost impossible for a layperson to determine the difference.
To clear things up, they're essentially the same thing and serve the same subject matter - the protection of information. The only real but subtle difference is the preference over one or the other in different settings and industries.
While there are technically no limits to the obligations which can be contained in a Confidentiality Agreement, there are certain provisions that are typically included:
Laws do vary depending on your state but in general, a Confidentiality Agreement is legally enforceable if one of the signed parties fails to maintain their duty of confidentiality or threatens to make the information public.
The owner of the confidential information may seek legal remedies in this instance which could include:
It's important to note that it's up to a court to decide whether or not a Confidentiality Agreement is enforceable. You should make sure that the confidential information is clearly identified within the agreement so there's no debate about whether the other party is required to keep this information secret.
Lawyers are technically not required to write up a Confidentiality Agreement, but they can be useful in some circumstances. If your arrangements are complicated or you're dealing with a transaction that has substantial value, you should consider legal advice.
To write a Confidentiality Agreement that all parties agree to, you should all sit down together and decide on the terms and conditions that will be included in the document. Using a legal template for the ins and outs of the document will give you an idea of what to include in your agreement.
Typically, writing up a confidentiality agreement should include the following four steps:
A Confidentiality Agreement often includes two clauses that can help to reinforce the strength of your agreement and make it easier to combat an unfairly obtained competitive advantage. These are:
Confidentiality Agreements can become lengthy depending on how much information needs to be protected, which is why using a legal template can be extremely helpful. It'll make sure that any necessary legal jargon is included and nothing is left out. Here is a selection of websites that allow you to view or download a Confidentiality Agreement template for free.
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