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It is important that you do not make your invention public before you apply to patent it, because this may mean that you cannot patent it, or it may make your patent invalid.

However, that does not mean that you must never discuss your invention with anyone else. For example, you can discuss it with qualified (registered) lawyers, solicitors and patent attorneys because anything you say to or show them is legally privileged. This means it is in confidence and they will not tell anyone else.

Alternatively, you may need to discuss your invention with someone else before you apply for a patent – such as a patent adviser or consultant, or an inventor-support organisation. If so, a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) can help. NDAs are also known as confidentiality agreements and confidentiality-disclosure agreements (CDA).

No single NDA will work in every situation. This means that you must think carefully about what to include in your NDA. You may want to consult a qualified lawyer or patent attorney if you are thinking about discussing your invention with someone else and are considering using a non-disclosure agreement.

Our booklet, Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA) PDF document(750Kb), gives information and guidance about what you need to consider when disclosing an invention, including example NDA templates