Non-Disclosure Agreements – should I sign one?

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  • Non-Disclosure Agreements – should I sign one?
  • gobuchul
    Member

    I would think not.

    Why would you be obligated?

    I think the main question is, what and who to, could you disclose anything of any consequence?

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    So they paid you off? Has the cheque cleared?

    If so I’d just be binning it.

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    Do I have any obligation to sign a NDA after the fact?

    No, not really.

    They should have got you to do it as part of the cash settlement 🙂

    khani
    Member

    Not without a big bag of money..

    bencooper
    Member

    So they paid you off? Has the cheque cleared?

    Yes, over a year ago.

    The designer says he’s just tidying up loose ends, I don’t think he seriously thinks I’ll copy the design or something. My worry is that there are some design tweaks that I introduced that I might want to use in future.

    Plus, general bloodymindedness 😉

    DrP
    Member

    Was this the bike in question?

    If so, I know about it and want 50 packs of Haribo to keep schtum…

    DrP

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    The designer says he’s just tidying up loose ends,

    ie. he’s looking to sell and the buyer has asked for this as part of the sale.

    Unless you have to I wouldn’t do anything that might limit your use of your intellectual property in the future.

    Premier Icon piedi di formaggio
    Subscriber

    Presumably as there were some profits, the bike is already in production and has been sold, so I can’t see what point there would be in having an NDA now anyway. Presumably I could, if I wanted to, buy the bike, publish photos, talk about it, etc to my hearts content.

    I would say that this horse has long bolted from the stable

    EDIT:

    “My worry is that there are some design tweaks that I introduced that I might want to use in future.”

    An NDA wouldn’t stop you doing that. He’d need an enforcable patent or similar. If he hasn’t, then perhaps you could get these as the designer and stop him from using them. Just to rub it in!

    Premier Icon D0NK
    Subscriber

    If you are happy with the lump sum sign it. If not, then rejoice, you just got yourself another seat at the negotiating table.

    gobuchul
    Member

    The designer says he’s just tidying up loose ends, I don’t think he seriously thinks I’ll copy the design or something.

    That’s got nothing to do with a NDA.

    If you have been paid for your input then he will “own” the design.

    Nothing to stop you tweaking it and building your own, it’s very difficult to prove you have copied his design, if you make a few changes.

    wordnumb
    Member

    My worry is that there are some design tweaks that I introduced that I might want to use in future.

    Yeah, that’s the bit I’d be talking to a professional about, rather than on a forum. Not that there aren’t highly knowledgeable people here, but the right to use your own work in the future seems more of an issue than ‘tidying up loose ends’.

    bencooper
    Member

    Presumably as there were some profits, the bike is already in production and has been sold, so I can’t see what point there would be in having an NDA now anyway. Presumably I could, if I wanted to, buy the bike, publish photos, talk about it, etc to my hearts content.

    Yes, this is what I don’t get either – I presume he’s registered the design or something, but it’s in production so there’s nothing stopping anyone else copying it.

    Premier Icon piedi di formaggio
    Subscriber

    If you have been paid for your input then he will “own” the design.

    Only if that was stated in a contract with the designer at the time

    peterfile
    Member

    Ben, he’s at it.

    The time for an NDA (particularly a unilateral one) is BEFORE you divulge confidential info.

    He has clearly started getting his house in order, whether in preparation for further product development or IP protection and has been asked whether he has disclosed any information which should be considered confidential. He’ll have said “erm yes, a guy called Ben who helped me with the design a while back” and he’s been advised to try and get you to sign an NDA to avoid any future disclosure/use on your part.

    That fact that you haven’t signed an NDA doesn’t give you a carte blanche to play around with the info though…particularly in light of any terms that might have been attached to the settlement payment. Was there any documentation produced along with the settlement that required you to keep the info confidential or even enter into a confidentiality agreement/NDA?

    In terms of whether you can use aspect of the design for your own use, that’s something you ought to take advice on. I can point you in the direction of some people who can help if needed.

    Premier Icon rickmeister
    Subscriber

    Do a bit of research as to where your input may have gone to since you worked on it and what current value this may have which you may be entitled to a share of, then decide….

    Signing closes options, non signing keeps you in the loop..

    bencooper
    Member

    Only if that was stated in a contract with the designer at the time

    We reach the nub of the problem – there was no real contract, only some verbal discussions and some emails around the fact that we’d share profits etc. Yes, I know, never mix business and friendships 😉

    That fact that you haven’t signed an NDA doesn’t give you a carte blanche to play around with the info though…particularly in light of any terms that might have been attached to the settlement payment.

    Cheers, aye, there weren’t any terms attached (other than the payment was a full and final settlement for my work) – I have no interest in copying the design, and I can’t even think of anything in particular that would even be covered by a NDA, no special manufacturing techniques or suchlike.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    I have refused to sign similar for a company I’d since left. It was patent related rather than an NDA, but the documents put an onus on me in exchange for nothing*, so I refused to sign and told them to stop bothering me.

    *Legally it was in exchange for $1 but they weren’t actually going to even offer me $1, that was just in the contract.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    I would have thought there should be something in it for you, for it to be worth your signing an NDA. Normally you do this to be allowed into something – but you were already in so you’re getting nothing out of it.

    And if it’s already in production, or going into production, then what the hell? Anyone could buy one and see the secrets, surely? Unless it’s a manufacturing process, then bike design can’t really be hidden, can it?

    In my line of work the workings of something can be protected even when the product is deployed and in use, which is different.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    I think I’d either ask for money in return for an NDA, or alternatively, instantly post every commercially sensitive bit of information I can find all over the internet

    Junkyard
    Member

    What NW says
    as it is amusing

    Others have given more useful advice but his is deffo the funniest and the STW way.

    dbcooper
    Member

    even if you did sign an NDA today, anythiogn disclosed prior to the date of the NDA is not covered. He has no idea what he wants you to sign..

    Premier Icon nemesis
    Subscriber

    From a business perspective, you have something he wants (the signature for the NDA) so it’s not unreasonable to negotiate it to get some form of payment. You have no obligation to sign the NDA so in your shoes I wouldn’t unless there was some return. I would run the wording past a solicitor who understands the area though and that should be considered as part of the value you attribute to being paid to do so.

    allthepies
    Member

    Northwind wrote:

    or alternatively, instantly post every commercially sensitive bit of information I can find all over the internet

    That would seem a very spiteful thing to do and I would imagine Ben is above that. Personally in the OP’s position I’d not be wanting to sign the NDA as I don’t see any upside.

    bencooper
    Member

    Yes, no interest in being spiteful, and no interest in harming him or the bike brand.

    Jamie
    Member

    [video]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2nq8DzYToE[/video]

    ninfan
    Member

    My thought would be that his interest in the NDA may be about preventing you disclosing the acrimonious background as to how it ended and his ‘shady approach to business’

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    allthepies – Member

    That would seem a very spiteful thing to do

    Only god can judge me!1!!

    bencooper
    Member

    A few years ago, I was involved with the design and prototyping of a new bike design – consulted a lot on the design itself, making modifications and improvements, and also built a bunch of prototypes, with the agreement that all profits would be shared. This never happened, and after lots of rather acrimonious discussion I eventually settled for a lump sum in lieu.

    However the designer recently got in touch, wanting me to sign a NDA on the bike – we never did that at the time. Do I have any obligation to sign a NDA after the fact?

    Premier Icon Speshpaul
    Subscriber

    The main down side of signing would be that in the future it could be used as a tool against you.
    We have all seen these cases where large componies and their lawyers will use the threat of legal action against someone who can’t afford it, no matter who is morally or legally in the right.

    I can see no reason why you would want to sign it ( no settlement has been offered) who knows where you or that that “brand” will be in 5 years times.
    you get offered a cracking job designing bikes, but some mega bucks company has bought this “brand” and you are connected to them by a NDA.

    Quick edit; he tried to screw you over once…………….

    I’d say no.

    atlaz
    Member

    Don’t sign anything you don’t need to. Unless it was in some fine print in the settlement (which I’m sure it wasn’t), there’s no benefit to signing at all for you, and I assume some for him. If he’s getting a pay-day for you signing the NDA, you may just want to ask what you get for doing him a favour.

    Or the taking the high-road approach, just say you’re not going to sign and leave it at that.

    Premier Icon BigJohn
    Subscriber

    Thank him for alerting you to the fact that your intellectual property has a current market value and politely decline the opportunity to give it away for nothing.

    damo2576
    Member

    If the bike/design or whatever is already in the public domain then there is no reason for an NDA.

    Reading between the lines however I expect it is not and your ex client is looking to protect some aspect of the design via patent or design registration.

    In this case the NDA would be required since unless under confidentiality the disclosure to you represents a risk to granting of patent (or design registration).

    soobalias
    Member

    my GP wants £35 to sign the back of a passport photo.
    so dont get your signing pen out till you see the readies.

    bencooper
    Member

    If the bike/design or whatever is already in the public domain then there is no reason for an NDA.

    Reading between the lines however I expect it is not and your ex client is looking to protect some aspect of the design via patent or design registration.

    The bike is already in production – in fact the bike shop down the road has one on display 😉

    I think he really is just tidying up loose ends, it’s occurred to him that he has proper legal paperwork in place for his other designs but not this one.

    m0rk
    Member

    Maybe he doesn’t want you to be acknowledged as having anything to do with the design?

    All a bit late in the game though really

    So tell us everything 🙂

    Premier Icon tonyg2003
    Subscriber

    As a few people have said trying to get someone to sign a NDA like this is really trying it on. Tell the designer to get lost in no uncertain terms. There is nothing that he can do unless he wants to start negotiating again.

    toppers3933
    Member

    Mork beat me to it. But I think he doesn’t want people to know you were involved in the development so want you to sign something to ensure you keep quiet.

    eightyeight
    Member

    He’s obviously dropped the ball by not including an NDA in the suite of documents to be signed when you came to your cash settlement. You are not obliged to sign it.

    Some people seem to be implying that he is doing this to stop you copying the design. That would not be the purpose of an NDA which only covers you talking about it. From a legal stand point, the substance of the cash settlement (even if not defined in contract)is what would prevent you from copying the design.

    Difficult without full details etc.

    wobbliscott
    Member

    I don’t think they’re necessarily trying it on. THey’re clearly trying to protect the design from potential competitors and don’t want the OP from talking to anyone else on it. For example, they may be looking for further investment and potential investors will be looking to see if the design is protected. Its purely upto the OP and wether or not he feels he’s been adequately paid for his contribution or if he feels has any further claim to the Intellectual Property. It could work both ways, if the OP contributed the novel features of the design he may want the company to not consult with a third party without his permission, involvement or paying some form of lisence fee or royalty. I guess alot will depend on the OP’s hunger to make more cash from the idea, or if he feels he has a stake in the idea and wants that recognised. Once the NDA is signed then I think that any claim the OP might feel he has on the design will effectively be given up.

    bencooper
    Member

    I don’t particularly want any claim on the design – the design was his, I helped a lot to refine it and make it buildable, but the concept was his.

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