The only way companies can stay competitive these days is by introducing exciting new products, creating new ideas and working on projects surreptitiously. The element of secrecy is often of the utmost importance to remain competitive in their field, for fear that someone else might launch their idea first. Similarly, startups based on a new idea need to keep their plans a secret as well. Non-disclosure agreements are one aspect of small business law that can allow companies and businesses to keep their information confidential.

Also known as confidentiality agreements, New Jersey residents can use them any time they have to disclose information to clients, employees, creditors, investors or suppliers. They are most often used when someone wants to discuss sensitive information with another party, such as when asking for an investment, getting new clients, looking for partners or hiring new employees. An NDA protects both parties and prevents sensitive information from leaking. Without an NDA, it might be difficult to prove that an idea was stolen. Protected or sensitive information could include client lists, recipes, proprietary formulas, manufacturing processes or anything else deemed sensitive by the parties.

Both parties sign the confidentiality agreement that spells out each party’s obligations to one another. Usually, they bind the other person for an indefinite amount of time and the penalties for breaking it are spelled out in the agreement as well.

Public documents cannot be kept confidential, neither can information a party had before signing the document or obtained from a third party. Given the type of situation one has, one can create a unilateral or mutual nondisclosure agreement. It might be helpful to speak to an attorney about the different ways one can protect their confidential information through a nondisclosure agreement.