Energy & Telecommunications

Climate Strategy

Protecting Your Renewable Energy Idea

Great opportunity exists for developers of new technologies addressing climate change. However, with opportunity, there is risk for the entrepreneur. What do you need to do to protect your ideas from poaching from others?

A nondisclosure agreement -- also called an NDA or a confidentiality agreement -- is a contract in which the parties promise to protect the confidentiality of secret information that is disclosed during a business transaction. If you make a nondisclosure agreement with someone who uses your secret without authorization, you can request a court to stop the violator from making any further disclosures and you can sue for damages.

Important elements in a nondisclosure agreement may include the following:

  • definition of confidential information
  • exclusions from confidential information
  • obligations of receiving party
  • agreement that the receiving party not compete with the disclosing party for a period of time
  • agreement that the receiving party will not use another technology to compete with the disclosing party
  • agreement that the receiving party will not solicit employees of customers of the disclosing party

A nondisclosure agreement protects any type of trade secret -- that is, any information that is not generally known and gives your business a competitive advantage in the marketplace. For example, using a nondisclosure agreement, you can prohibit someone from disclosing a secret invention design, an idea for a new website or confidential material contained in a copyrighted software program.

The real purpose of NDAs is to create a confidential relationship between a person who has a trade secret and the person to whom the secret is disclosed. People who have such a confidential relationship are legally bound to keep the information a secret.

If you have a new, useful and unobvious way of solving a technology problem, the you may seek patent protection. A patent is a document, issued by the federal government, that grants to its owner a legally enforceable right to exclude others from practicing the invention described and claimed in the document. The described invention must be new i.e., not invented first by another or identically known or used by others in this country or patented or published anywhere in the world before the actual invention date (not the application filing date). The invention also must be useful i.e., serve some disclosed or generally known purpose.

Firm Highlights

News

Preti Flaherty Announces Attorneys Kristy Abraham and Mariana Baron Promoted to Partner

Preti Flaherty is pleased to announce that the firm’s partnership has named two new partners: Kristy Abraham and Mariana Baron. Both attorneys stand out as distinguished practitioners in the field of corporate law and...

Press Coverage

Court Rules Portland Rents Are Public Information, Not Trade Secrets

Rental information is public information and not protected from public record requests under the Maine Trade Secrets Act, according to a recent ruling by Justice Thomas R. McKeon of the Maine Business and Consumer Court. The...

Event

Dan Sonneborn to Present Webinar on Carmack Amendment Defenses for the Transportation Lawyers Association

On Tuesday, February 28, 2023, Preti Flaherty Attorney Dan Sonneborn will present the webinar "The Best Offense… Is a Good Defense? Using Exceptions to Swallow the Rule: The Nuts and Bolts of Carmack Amendment...

Event

Dan Sonneborn to Present at Trucking Industry Defense Association 2023 Cargo Seminar

Preti Flaherty attorney Dan Sonneborn will be a speaker at the Trucking Industry Defense Association (TIDA) 2023 Cargo Seminar in Phoenix, Arizona, presenting on the topic of defending cargo claims concerning perishable goods and the Food...

News

Preti Flaherty Continues Year of Remarkable Growth with Addition of Five New Attorneys

Preti Flaherty is pleased to announce the arrival of five new Associates to the firm: Scott A. DeLong, Christopher S. Knight, Kijana Plenderleith, Harper A. Weissburg, and Joshua D. Williams. In our Portland, Maine, office...

News

Attorney Erin K. Naylon Joins Preti Flaherty’s Corporate and M&A Practice Group

Preti Flaherty is pleased to announce that attorney Erin K. Naylon has joined the firm’s Corporate and M&A Practice Group, working in the Portland, Maine office. Erin is a graduate of Brooklyn Law School...

Publication

President Biden Signs Speak Out Act

On December 7, 2022, President Biden signed the "Speak Out Act" which became effective that day. The Act prohibits the enforcement of blanket non-disclosure and non-disparagement clauses that are entered into before any allegation...

Publication

FTC Proposes New Rule Impacting Legality of Non-Compete Agreements

Background Over the last several years, non-compete agreements, which prevent workers from joining a competitor or starting a competing business for a time after separating from employment, have become less common as states enact...

Publication

Pre-Session Legislative Update

LD 3 “An Act to Establish the Winter Energy Relief Payment Program to Aid Residents with High Heating Costs and to Finalize the COVID Pandemic Relief Payment Program” After Governor Mills’ heating and housing...

Publication

Committee Assignments

Committee assignments for the 131st Maine State Legislature have been made public. This article from the Bangor Daily News mentions some of the most interesting choices made by Senate President Jackson and Speaker Rachel...