Do you rely on CDA/NDA before a Collaboration Agreement is signed?
A Confidentiality Agreement/Non-Disclosure Agreement (CDA/NDA) is often used when information is shared and to prevent a potential collaboration partner from patenting or publishing confidential information shared.
However, a CDA/NDA should not be a tool used to replace the filing of an application to secure your IP rights, such as a patent application and/or a design application. It is important to secure your rights by filing such an IP application before any knowledge sharing.
If a CDA/NDA is in place but an IP application is not filed, the sharing of knowledge can become an obstacle and make the protection of your IP problematic and in some instances make it impossible to obtain your own valid IP protection. The sharing of knowledge between parties not having a collaboration agreement in place regulating all IP rights will in many instances result in no IP protection at all.
Even if a CDA/NDA is in place, an unintentional publication by the other party may ruin your success of getting IP protection for your invention. Means for dealing with such a situation do exist in various countries, such as grace periods, however, one cannot rely on this for sure, and each country has different rules for applying such a grace period.
Please contact us if you can recognize the situation outlined above to improve your chance of getting your IP protected.
Lars Bo Kjerrumgaard
European Patent Attorney