Chappaqua, NY asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for New York

Q: We are creating a product with an overseas manufacturer, how do we protect ourselves/ idea with this manufacturer.

Can you ask a manufacturer (fabric Mill or factory) to sign an NDA if they are developing a product for you that you brought to them to develop?

2 Lawyer Answers
Kevin E. Flynn
Kevin E. Flynn
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Patents Lawyer
  • Chapel Hill, NC
  • Licensed in New York

A: You can ask them to sign agreements. The agreement should be written by a law firm that frequently does this sort of work. A agreement that you write based on something that you found on the internet is not really a good answer.

Depending on the country where they manufacturer is located, it may be hard to enforce this contract. It will certainly be expensive. So your first objective is to find a manufacturer with a long and solid reputation as if you needed to trust them without relying on the agreement. It will be a major loss to you if you have to resort to using the agreement to sue them.

Good luck.

Kevin E Flynn

Sean Erin Serraguard
Sean Erin Serraguard
Answered
  • Patents Lawyer
  • Troy, MI

A: So, there are a couple of questions here that are circumstance and location specific. Yes, you can ask them to sign an NDA. However, enforcing that NDA may be difficult depending on the the type of idea (e.g., is it a new product, a new method of making a product, or both?) and on the location? Of note, China is a notoriously difficult location to protect methods in. Further, NDAs don't generally cover any elements that may have existed through a public source. You should speak with an intellectual property attorney to consider the location, type, available IP protection, and contractual obligations between you and the manufacturer, before moving forward.

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