Las Vegas Business Attorney
Confidentiality agreements are contracts signed between two parties where one or both parties covenant against disclosing specific information to third parties. To be valid, the information held as confidential must be absent in the public domain, and its release must cause damage to the party protected by the agreement. Most confidentiality agreements are for specific durations. Though permanent confidentiality agreements exist, to stand up in court, permanent agreements must be tailored to a specific piece of information that requires confidentiality remain permanent for specific and valid reasons.
Businesses are the most common users of confidentiality agreements. They are frequently seen in employment contracts where a new hire is asked to sign a confidentiality agreement as a condition of employment. Employment-based confidentiality agreements are often titled as non-disclosure agreements. Confidentiality agreements are also often signed between businesses. For example, two companies partnering together on a project may need to share information that is normally confidential in order to complete the project. The companies may covenant that none of the confidential information shared during the project may be disclosed to any third parties.
Businesses often use confidentiality agreements to protect trade secrets, as well as sensitive, technical, and commercial information from disclosure. In cases where patent rights are at stake, confidentiality agreements are vital to protecting legal ownership rights. Financial or insider information that is barred from public knowledge are also frequently included in confidentiality agreements. In the employment law context, current and former employees are typically barred from giving out specific information about the company. For example, a new hire must agree to keep customer lists or manufacturing processes confidential.
Many confidentiality agreement cases are litigated around the question of enforceability. To enforce a confidentiality agreement and receive compensation for damages, plaintiffs must bring the case to court. Judges analyze the agreement carefully and may hold some or all of its provisions as unenforceable. A ruling that an agreement is unenforceable can result from it conflicting with laws or established legal standards, being considered excessive, and having ambiguities in its language or construction.
Legal counsel experienced in confidentiality agreements should construct the agreement in order to ensure it is valid and enforceable. Individuals who sign agreements should also consult with legal counsel before entering into any agreement. Costs for litigating confidentiality claims are substantial. Consulting a Las Vegas business lawyer from Dobberstein Law Group at the beginning of this process helps prevent an expensive court action.
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