Battle of the NDA's

Need an answer here. I signed an NDA with a former employer a few weeks ago so that they could give me some design briefs to quote. I haven’t been granted the jobs yet as I just gave them the formal quotes. And now, a competitor of theirs has had me sign an NDA also because they want me to quote some work for them. Obviously, I wouldn’t work for both clients at the same time. I’ll have to choose one BUT does the NDA I signed with the first company stop me from proceeding to talk about projects with the second company?

Also, how do you cancel an NDA?

A standard NDA (would need to read the one you signed for sure) is in place to ensure that you DO NOT disclose and confidential and proprietary information that you are provided. It usually does not prevent you from doing work with anyone else( that would usually be a secondary contractual agreement you may be asked to sign). Thus talking to a competitor about projects is fine as long as you mention NOTHING about anything related to the other company.

But as stated above I would need to read the contract you signed be sure that their are no other clauses in their. A word to people out there NEVER sign a contract that you do not fully understand, and always have a lawyer review it. I have seen designers sign away royalties and rights without ever knowing it!

To add to chevisw’s comment:

  1. Yes you always need to read all of the NDA.
  2. Non Disclosure is not the same as Exclusivity (which is what chevisw is talking about). That said, some NDA include an exclusivity clause. We never sign those. They should be separate documents with separate signatures.
  3. Your NDA should not only have a term limit. We receive NDA’s all the time without term limits and I send them back and make the potential client change it.

And for those kids in the audience… Learn to read and understand legal document before you sign them, no matter how hungry you are. :slight_smile:

Is there a standard or suggested term limit?

I typically find that 2 - 3 years is sufficient for most. Some clients want as high as 5.

Here’s a great video talking about legalities in creative fields:

To add to the points above - the NDA you signed with potential client A can’t prevent you from discussing new information with potential client B that was not disclosed as proprietary with potential client A. Topics covered under NDA’s tend to be broad but only proprietary information shared by potential client A (information not commonly known in the industry) is secured under the agreement - you can talk shop, talk general category information, talk experience, etc. with potential client B, just not the specific new &/or proprietary information that was shared with you under the agreement.

For time-limits, we prefer to push for 24 months at most - the world is operating much faster than it was 10 years ago…and I agree with all who recommended reading the entire document - if you have any questions about particulars, get answers from someone qualified to give them.