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Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) at McMaster: How to talk to industry (and protect your interests at the same time)

Whenever you want to share information that is confidential to any third party, such as an external collaborator or an industry partner, you should use a non-disclosure agreement (NDA).

What is an NDA?

An NDA is an agreement that sets out the ways in which your information can be used by the person or organization you’re providing it to (and the kind of protection that it should receive). NDAs generally provide that the information may only be used for a specific purpose and must not be disclosed to any other persons or organizations. Often they will appoint a designated representative to be responsible for disclosure and receipt of the information.

Why should I use an NDA?

By using an NDA, you can ensure that:

  • Your information remains confidential
  • You can still patent
  • The person or organization receiving the information can’t misuse it

How do I get an NDA?

The McMaster Industry Liaison Office (MILO) can prepare and negotiate NDAs for you. To request one, please complete the NDA Request Form. A MILO representative will review the information and contact you to prepare the agreement. They will then work with the person or organization to whom you wish to disclose the information to finalize the agreement.

What should I do if I’ve received an NDA from industry?

MILO can also review industry NDAs to make sure that the terms are appropriate in the circumstances and do not restrict your ability to publish or conduct research. You should contact MILO and provide us with a copy of the NDA. A MILO representative will review the NDA and work with you and your industry contact to finalize the agreement.

I still have lots of questions. What should I do?

For more information about NDAs, please visit our NDA FAQs or contact MILO to discuss your options further.