Free NDA Template for App Development & Tips on How to Sign It

29 April 2021 Writer: Lera Grechanik 448 views

There’s one thing that needs to be pointed out at the very beginning. If someone asked us what is the most controversial topic in the case of app development the answer would be “NDA”, or old good Non-Disclosure Agreement. The thing is, some say singing NDA is a must, while others state that it causes more harm than good, especially in the long term perspective.

Our goal today is to try to make it clear and share our own thoughts on the point, based on the relevant experience. To begin with, let’s find out what an NDA is in terms of app development.

Non-Disclosure Agreement For a Mobile App: FAQ

The best way to come to the point about this or that matter is to take a look at the most common FAQ, being asked. So, let’s begin. 

What is an NDA?

NDA is a Non-Disclosure Agreement for short. It can be applied to any area and field. Where the intellectual property protection is involved in this or that way.

Did it make the point clearer? We doubt it. So let’s come straight to the point. NDA ensures your ideas, related to app development, any confidential information, and any data, that may cause business losses if being transferred to third parties, will be protected.

To Whom Should I Sign the Non-Disclosure Agreement for My Mobile App?

In short, with anyone who might have access to confidential information, related to app development, so the list of potential parties is huge. To make it more specific, let’s have a look at the parties which should be considered the first ones if we are thinking about signing an NDA

  • Your own (in-house) team.  It is logical, obvious, and clear because your team members will have direct access to the confidential data. SO they will be the first ones to sign an NDA. It ensures that the data is protected not just against outside leakings, but against the inside spreading among the workers, not involved in the particular project as well. 
  • Contract developers. This point is also clear - you are working with external parties, providing access to the sensitive data, so signing an NDA with them is a must. Consider the point that NDA in some cases should remain in force even after the release. 
  • QA engineers (testers). They know technical specifications,  have access to the code, so it will be a wise decision to sign an NDA with the QA team too.
  • PO’s, PM’s, Designers, and others who work on your product without using the code. Yes, they do not work with the code directly, do not look for vulnerabilities as the QA, but still have different blueprints, mind maps, and so on. It means that signing an NDA  should work for these guys too.

At What Stage Should I Sign the NDA?

When it comes to NDA, people often ask, when it’s the best time to sign the papers. The question becomes even more essential when it all is about app development. So our answer is that - the best moment is when you sign the rest of the papers or hire a person. 

In some cases NDA can be signed at the interview stage, when you're about to share some sensitive data and want it to be protected and kept secret.

Is There a Single Template?

No, there’s no such a template. In other words, there’s no sample that would be recognized by the third parties in general. 

In general, companies who work in the area of app development offer their own template when it comes to signing an NDA. Note, that a stable company with a good reputation, worth your trust will not hide any details in the template. The moment people often skip is that they can offer their own modification of the template having been offered. 

One of the options is to use our template. Yes, we at Celadon use it while working with the clients. And as you will see, it is 100% clear. The link is closer to the end of the article, so stay tuned. 

What Are the Components of a Good NDA?

Be careful - there’s no standard or general template for NDA. Why should you be careful? Just in order not to miss some essential points. In spite of the fact that there’s no template, the list of must-have contents was created. Here it is:

Clause

Description

Definition of the Confidential Information

The definition of what is meant under “confidential information” should be clear and concise, so it can’t be interpreted in different ways. 

Parties

Disclosing and the Recipient parties have t be defined as well. NDA should also state to whom the confidential information can be disclosed and under which conditions. The simplest example - information disclosure during interactions between developers and the QA department. 

Duration

An NDA without a timeline is nonsense. Time limits should be realistic and as a rule, they are stated up to three years valid. 

Permitted Use of the Confidential Information

This chapter is about the ways and situations when involved parties can and can not use the provided data.

Always keep in mind that in some cases the information disclosure can be a demand from the authorities. For disclosing party it means that it is not responsible for agreement violation because it was done due to legal obligation. 

Jurisdiction

His point is about the court, in which jurisdiction the case will be transferred in cases of NDA violation. 

Remedies

The consequences for the NDA violation have to be pointed out and discussed as well. Here one should describe acceptable remedies for the party that has disclosed the information.

Mind legal fees and specify the party, responsible for it. 

No Obligation

Relationships termination conditions are to be included too. However, there should be a possibility to terminate them at any point if it isn’t against any relevant contractual stipulations or laws.

Tip: avoid unrealistic penalties in case of NDA violation. The best option is to define that the cases related to the NDA violations and penalties will be regulated by law. 

So now you know the must-be elements of the NDA template for app development and what they contain. Keep them in mind when it comes to signing an NDA the next time. Now the question “What is an NDA?” is answered, and we can jump straight to the reasons why NDA is the paper you really need to be signed.

Top 5 Reasons to Sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement for App Development

  1. To Protect Your Trade Secrets

Keep in mind that information is the most valuable thing for business. And the data you are about to protect is of exceptional importance. And it can be literally anything - from your own unique way to do things to specific working processes inside your company, marketing schemes, development/scaling strategies. Everything that can be considered as trade secrets, should be protected by a good Non-Disclosure Agreement for app development, preventing trade secrets disclosure. At the same time, it protects your business against rivals and competitors. 

  1. To Secure More Specific Confidential Information

Trade secrets are not the only piece of data to be protected. During the development process, a lot of confidential information is revealed to the involved parties. The leaks, perhaps, will not lead to some disaster, but still is a potential vulnerability of the project, that may cause lots of trouble. 

Most often such information includes passwords, customer lists, blueprints, devices, and hardware configurations, prototypes

If you have an NDA at the project, the leakage chances are reduced. 

  1. To Minimize the Risk of Working with External Specialists

There’s a situation when NDA is a must and this situation is a collaboration with freelancers and agencies. 

Freelancers may disappear in the middle of the development, it’s difficult(up to impossible) to control them properly. In this case, a legal obligation, even if it's an NDA, increases the responsibility level. It is how the human factor works - people tend to be more responsible if bound by any legal obligation. 

The situation with the agencies is different. They care about reputation and any NDA violation leads to reputational losses. For you as a business owner, it means that agencies will try to avoid any issues and trouble more than you. 

At the same time, most likely they have their own secrets to be protected and will offer to sign their Non-Disclosure Agreement for app development in return to protect confidential information as well. 

  1. To Keep Your Project Hidden during Stealth Mode

In the business circles, the Stealth Mode is considered a state of the company, when the product it develops will turn the market upside down and will be a revolutionary one. But the company avoids public attention at the moment. The reason here is pure marketing because the Stealth Mode provides a so-called “first-mover advantage”. 

And if there will be leaking at this stage all the strategy will be destroyed and advantage simply vanishes. What can help here? Of course, an NDA.

  1. To Protect Your Money

As we have said, information is the most valuable thing, and any leaks lead to money losses. If the project is stolen by the competitors or if even an idea will be transferred to third parties, the whole business will be in danger. 

In this situation it’s easier to prevent an issue, not to cope with the consequences. And signing a Non-Disclosure mobile application development agreement is the most efficient protective measure to keep your funds safe. 

The General Data Protection Regulation

The data protection we are talking about is closely related to the EU's new General Data Protection Regulation. It has replaced the previously established directive dated 1995. 

It means that the app should not just have an NDA, but be in compliance with this updated document, which came into force three years ago, back in 2018. 

According to the GDPR, it is the company’s direct responsibility to store the data users provide and keep this data secret. Contractors should follow the rules too, considering the data to be confidential in return. 

There’s an official website where one can read more about the GDPR. 

NDA Template

We keep our word and promises, so here it is - the NDA template for app development. Feel free to use it whenever needed. 

You can check and download it here!

Conclusion

In the article, we have collected our insights and thoughts, based on experience, about NDA and how it can be and should be used if you want to secure your business data. 

Let’s briefly remember the main tips:

  1. Confidential information should be carefully specified. Trade secrets also should be added. 
  2. Avoid Long duration, 1-3 years is a common practice. 
  3. Set the court and its jurisdiction for NDA for app development. Specify the party, responsible for covering the legal fees. This point becomes critical when you cooperate with a party from another country. 
  4. Avoid unrealistic penalties. The best option is to set all the issues to be regulated by the court. 
  5. There should be an option, allowing to terminate the agreement at any moment if it is not against the law.

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