Dissemination of information is a vital part of academic research, nevertheless when parties are discussing the possibility of a collaboration, it is often necessary to protect information being exchanged so that it is held in confidence and not misused. Once information has been publically disclosed (for instance in conversations, seminars, posters, presentations, publications or by email) it is no longer considered confidential unless disclosed under an obligation of confidence.
To ensure that information, knowledge or research results that are disclosed to another party are held in confidence and not misused, a Confidentiality Agreement (CDA) or Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) should be put in place between the provider and the recipient of such information.
For further information regarding patents, licensing and commercialisation please contact Cambridge Enterprise Ltd.
Q. Why protect information?
There are several reasons for protecting information such as
- to retain control over your information
- to prevent others from using your ideas
- to protect the novelty of inventions prior to patenting
Q. What happens if there isn't a CDA in place?
A premature non-confidential disclosure is a common reason for the failure of patents or loss of value in a potential license which in turn impacts on the ability to exploit or commercialise research resulting in a potential loss of a revenue return to fund further research. If research results are disclosed to other parties without a CDA in place, it could also compromise potential publications, if such data is made publicly available.
Q. How can ROO help with a CDA?
The Research Operations Office (ROO) provides assistance to put in place the CDA prior to discussions taking place and has a standard document for use each time an employee or student wishes to disclose information although other parties may often provide their own documents.
It is vital that you do not sign the confidentiality agreement yourself, because ROO is an authorised signatory of the University needs to sign the agreement on your behalf. Any necessary review, negotiation and subsequent authorisation of the proposed agreement will be handled by the ROO.
Q. I need a CDA, what shall I do?
Principal Investigators (PIs) should request a CDA through the on-line request system wherever possible (an alternative method is to send the CDA request to the ROO Contracts Administrator allocated to your School). If a CDA has been received from the external collaborator this should also be provided to the ROO for review.