Do I need to get them to sign an NDA? — Keeping your idea secret

“So what do you think to my velcro beard idea? It’s so versatile, you can use it for a moustache or a monobrow too!”

When telling potential business partners, developers or anyone else about your idea, should you get them to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (‘NDA’)? In short, generally I think not. Here’s why:

1. Is your idea genuinely unique?

Unless you have some truly revolutionary intellectual property it is highly likely either: someone, somewhere is working on your idea already or there isn’t really anything to protect through an NDA.

2. Is the NDA doing what you want it to?

There are many template NDAs on the internet but my guess is (I am only guessing here) that if they are freely floating around then they probably aren’t water-tight, won’t be tailored to your circumstances and if the idea is that valuable, a decent lawyer could probably blag their way out of it.

3. A question of trust

Getting someone to sign an NDA, while protecting your own interests also kind of says you don’t trust the other person (think how your significant other would react to the suggestion of a pre-nup…), I am a great believer that people aren’t evil and aren’t looking for every opportunity to steal your idea for a phone made of polystyrene, and a little trust goes a long way.

Don’t let me stop you though, if you want to get one, go for it, but maybe make sure you get a legitimate one, tailored to your business, drawn-up before you get every person and their dog to sign them (of course dogs could leak your idea, dog’s gotta eat somehow right?).

But instead, consider this; by sharing your idea around it means that you can get more points of view and critique on it, which, annoying as it may be at times, is immensely valuable for your business development. Who knows who will ask the question that really stumps you?

Now get out there and start sharing!

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