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Confidentiality in Relation to UK Patents

Written by Waheedan Jariwalla on 25 July 2008

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One of the most crucial things to consider after having invented something, and before you apply for a patent for it, is confidentiality.

It is important that your invention is not discussed with anyone before a patent is applied for it as this ?disclosure? may make your patent invalid.

An exception to this rule includes conversations and exchanges with qualified (registered) lawyers, solicitors and patent agents as these encounters are considered legally privileged. This means it is in confidence and they are legally not permitted to disclose this information to anyone else.

If you need to discuss your invention before you apply for a patent, a confidentiality disclosure agreement (CDA) can help. CDAs are also known as confidentiality agreements and non-disclosure agreements (NDA).

No single CDA will work in every situation. This means that careful thought must be put into what is included in your CDA to fully protect your interests.

In this situation is its best to consult a solicitor or patent agent to draft a CDA on your behalf.

You, together with your solicitors, must consider how long you wish the CDA to provide protection for. Typically CDAs have terms of about two to five years.

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