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

Publication

Maine Workers’ Compensation Update - November 2023

The following is an overview of developments with respect to proposed legislation as well as new procedures on independent contractor determinations, medical fee schedule updates, and the use of updated Board forms, including medical...

Publication

FRBP 9006 Doesn't Take Vacations

Bodie Colwell of Preti Flaherty’s Creditors' Rights & Bankruptcy Group, has authored the article "FRBP 9006 Doesn't Take Vacations," appearing in the October 2023 issue of the American Bankruptcy Institute's Young & New Members Committee newsletter...

News

Preti Flaherty Welcomes Trust and Estate Attorney Elise Salek to the Firm

Preti Flaherty is pleased to announce that Elise Salek has joined the firm’s Trusts & Estates Practice Group. Practicing out of the firm’s Concord, New Hampshire office, Elise brings nearly three decades of experience...

Publication

131st Maine Legislature End of Session Update

The First Regular Session of the 131st Legislature was expected to end on June 15th or soon after. Instead, the First Regular Session ended on March 30th, and the Governor signed the “continuing services&rdquo...

Press Coverage

Maine media groups challenge new law on foreign spending on referendums

Maine’s two largest media associations, represented by Preti Flaherty attorneys Sigmund D. Schutz, Benjamin S. Piper, Jonathan G. Mermin, and Alexandra A. Harriman, filed a federal civil rights lawsuit challenging a Maine law burdening...

Event

Accessing Police Misconduct Records

Preti’s Sigmund Schutz will be one of the Maine panelists in New England First Amendment Coalition’s Accessing Police Misconduct Records series. This series continues NEFAC’s freedom of information lessons and builds on the information...

News

David Van Slyke Named to 2024 Lawdragon Green 500: Leaders in Environmental Law

Preti Flaherty’s Managing Partner David Van Slyke has been recognized by Lawdragon as one of the top 500 environmental lawyers in the U.S. It’s the third time he has been named to this prestigious...

Event

Sigmund Schutz to moderate panel at 36th Annual Media and the Law Seminar: Under Attack! Existential Threats to Journalism and Free Speech

From unlawful searches and seizures of newsrooms and highly contentious litigation to physical harassment and calls for violence online, journalists and news organizations are under attack like never before. At the 36 th Annual...

Publication

November 7, 2023 Election Results

Maine’s November 2023 statewide elections were exclusively referendum questions, four were citizen initiatives, and four were proposed amendments to the Maine Constitution. Of these, Questions 5, 7 and 8 were placed on the ballot...

News

Attorney Jeffrey Thaler Named to 2024 Lawdragon Green 500: Leaders in Energy Law

Preti Flaherty’s attorney Jeffrey Thaler has been recognized by  Lawdragon  as one of the top 500 Leaders in Energy Law. This is Jeff’s third time named to this prestigious list since the first publication...