I have been searching for an angel investor for an app idea I have. I was contacted by someone in South Carolina through email who wants to know my idea. I do not have a patent of provisional patent for the idea. So if this guy decides to steal my idea, would I be able to take legal action with the email containing my idea that was sent to him? I can not get to SC to have him sign a Non disclosure agreement. Or do I have any other options?
You need to speak to an intellectual property lawyer. In the absence of some type of patent or other formal registration, you have no way to completely verify your primacy in the development of your idea. Licensing and non-disclosure agreements are also very good ideas. You can do a non-disclosure contract over email, and it will usually stand up in court. Good luck.
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The NDA is a good idea. Have it tailored by a NJ business lawyer so that governing law will be New Jersey venue and jurisdiction and venue are also fixed in New Jersey. This is important to you in the event that you run into a dispute and need to enforce the agreement in court.
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You first order of business is to discuss what you have with IP counsel so you understand the extent you can protect it. An idea is not protectable and even if you get a signed NDA/NNN it may not cover for every contingency and it must be drafted properly. That said, if the other party was willing to assent to your NNN you do not need to go to SC to have it signed. You can use other means like and fax to demonstrate assent. For example, send the agreement by email. They print it out and sign it, scan and send it back. You can also rely on an email acknowledgement. All a court will care about is whether the party clearly assented to the terms not whether there is a physical signature on the document . We actually have codified law that governs here under the E-Sign act.
I suggest that you consult with a lawyer in private and discuss your objectives in more detail. You can start by calling around to several for a free phone consultation, get some insights then pick the best fit to work with.
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Really? You can't e-mail a non-disclosure agreement to someone in SC to sign and mail to you?
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Yes, he can sign an NDA and email it back to you. E mail evidence can definitely be used to enforce your rights. You should contact an experienced Patent Attorney to protect your invention by filing a provisional patent application if your invention has merit and is patentable.
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You shouldn't be disclosing your invention without having hired patent counsel to file at least a provisional patent application. Further, you should have counsel draft an enforceable NDA. Execution by e-mail is perfectly fine if the agreement is drafted properly. You need to retain legal counsel to guide you through this issue. It is unwise to proceed without legal counsel
I am not your lawyer and this is not intended to be legal advice on which you rely. My answer is merely intended to assist you in understanding some of the issues that you face so that you can make an intelligent choice when you hire legal counsel.
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