As a case study writer who serves B2B companies in industries such as data, tech, AI, and software, I’m often asked to sign an NDA.
By signing an NDA, you agree that you won’t take your client’s ideas and use them personally or share them with anyone else.
Sounds perfectly reasonable, right?
However, this may not be as innocuous as it seems. Here’s why:
- Signing an NDA could open you up to liability
- It could also open your other clients up to liability (if they came up with their own version of your client’s idea)
I spoke to attorney J. Scott Talbert at Lawyer2Warrior.com and here’s what he had to say about the possible perils of signing an NDA:
“Like any contract you may not fully understand, the rights & requirements in an NDA are easy to breach. Even honoring your opportunities and obligations doesn’t shield you from litigation, because good intentions don’t count and everything is open to interpretation. Sorry, but you’re only innocent until proven insolvent. We have a ‘legal’ system, not a ‘justice’ system – confuse the two at your own peril.”
Here’s what I do instead:
- Send my own NDA, written to protect me from legal risk AND provide peace of mind for my clients
- If a client insists that I use their NDA, I’m fine with that, as long as my lawyer sees it first (and, I charge a $500 fee for the cost of my lawyer to review it)
If you need an NDA, your best bet is to get an attorney to draft one specifically for you. Although it’s a one-time investment, you can share it with confidence knowing that you and your clients are protected.