How can I protect my rights to a product that I developed when approaching a company to manufacture and distribute that product?

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How can I protect my rights to a product that I developed when approaching a company to manufacture and distribute that product?

My wife developed a breadcrumb mix that can be used for baked clams, on top of baked steaks, vegetables etc. I would like to bring this recipe to a company for manufacture and distribution. How can I protect my rights to this product. The product is a combination of ingredients commonly found in the home.

Asked on February 3, 2011 under Business Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You need to have anyone you approach sign a confidentiality and nondisclosure agreement. You can do a websearch and find both free examples and some good forms you could buy for a nominal price. The crux of it will be that the forms will recite that the information you are sharing is your own proprietary confidential information; that you are sharing details only for the purpose of evaluating a business deal or transaction; that anyone you show it to has no right to use the recipe or information for their own benefit or the benefit of third parties or share it with anyone else without your prior, express written permission. Get the agreement signed *before* you share any details with anyone, and good luck with your venture.

Also, before going ahead, consider whether you may wish to try manufacturing and marketing it yourself; you could start small and local. This is in some ways riskier--you have to put more of your own money and time into it--but can give you more rewards and keeps you in control. Try looking up the stories of some people or business who have done this, starting with local distribution and branching out, to see whether this might be something for you.


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