DME Journal of Management

Published Annually by Delhi Metropolitan Education (Affiliated to GGSIP University)

Non-Disclosure Agreement: A Curve in a Glossy Path
December 18, 2020

Non-Disclosure Agreement: A Curve in a Glossy Path

Research Article | Open Access | Published Online: 18 December 2020

Non-Disclosure Agreement: A Curve in a Glossy Path

Tarun Sharma & Rajat Srivastav
DME Journal of Management, Vol.1, Issue 1, 2020, Page 126-145


The Concept of Non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is not new to business law and its nature has become pervasive as it is legally binding in nature. The real motive behind the signing of NDA is, to control the use and disclosure of confidential information. Particulars shared under Non-disclosure agreements from disclosing party to receiving party leaves no scope of obscurity. So, the information mentioned explicitly is preferred to define the scope of confidential information. The use of such information can be synchronized only if NDA identifies the purpose behind sharing the information.

Inceptive part of the research article highlights the scenarios where particularly NDA’s are used in general such as while dealing with the transaction or authorization of product or innovation or being the case of confidential and proprietary information or let it be an offer to a potential partner, investors, etc. After this going by old school steps, hereafter the article talks about the types and forms of Non-disclosure agreements. While volumes can be written on NDA’s in general but this article secondly talks about the controversial clauses in NDA which in general are the seed for dispute, here we have specifically tried to address the increasingly common use of so-called residual clause, perpetual time duration clause and non-compete clause. Thirdly this research article deals with uncertainty in relation to question whether booming use of NDA in company affairs, is a restraint of trade in a growing world. Breach of agreements certainly have an adverse effect in on working of it, but it has been seen from various judgments of courts in India, that in certain circumstances breach of NDA is said to be justifiable. Hence in cessation critical, analysis of the same has been attempted in the fourth step of the article.

Keywords: Non-disclosure, Non-compete, Confidential, Restraint


As important it is for an entity to enter into business agreements with different person’s entities, it is equally necessary to ensure that the valuable confidential information of the company or any entity is adequately safeguarded. One basic approach to secure the secrecy of confidential data given to another party is by using a Non-Disclosure Agreement, which is in some cases likewise alluded to as a “Confidentiality Agreement” or “NDA.” So NDA is an agreement by which at least one party make’s a deal to avoid disclosing any data that they have imparted to one another as a fundamental piece of working together. The Concept of Non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is not new to business law and its nature has become pervasive as it is legally binding in nature. Business law and contract is crucial for protecting one’s business. One of the most coveted possession of an individual or an organization is its trade secret or intellectual property that it has developed over span of many years, which is why it becomes important to protect that information using a viable means which surely is an NDA however many business organization fail to recognize the importance of using non- disclosure agreement to protect their competitive advantage in the marketplace.

The law associated with contracts in India is represented by The Indian Contract Act, 1872. Despite the fact that the Indian Contract Act, 1872 doesn’t explicitly conceive a NDA, the same could be considered as ‘restrictive’ understandings as far as Section 27 of the Contract Act and henceforth void. The main exemption being on sale of goodwill of a business whereby a vender may be avoided carrying on a comparative business, inside indicated limits, to the extent that the buyer, or any individual deciding title to the goodwill from him, carries on a like business in that, given such limits are sensible circumstances.

Research Methodology

Doctrinal Research Methodology likewise called “dark letter procedure” has been embraced for this investigation. This technique permits an expressive and definite examination of lawful guidelines, Non-Disclosure Agreement for this situation, found in essential sources like cases, rules or guidelines. This technique gives a degree to assemble, sort out and depict the law; to refer to the sources utilized; and afterward, distinguish and portray fundamental subject or framework and how each wellspring of law is associated. A particular legitimate principle for example Non-Disclosure Agreement is distinguished, and a basic, subjective investigation of a similar will be finished. It incorporates a definite clarification of the importance of the predetermined standard alongside the fundamental standards. Likewise, ambiguities and analysis connected to the law has been focused on recognizable proof and an appropriate justification will be given to that.

The Research paper sets to be comprehensively separated into four sections to make the perusing strong and intelligent.

  • The initial segment will feature the situations where especially NDA’s are utilized.
  • The subsequent part is pointed toward discussing the disputable provisions in NDA.
  • The article, in its third part will manage vulnerability comparable to the inquiry in the case of blasting utilization of NDA in organization undertakings, is a limitation of exchange a developing world.
  • Lastly, in the fourth bit, a basic examination on the impact of penetrate of concessions to the working of the organizations is to be introduced.

This methodology assists with explaining the implications of the arrangement in detail, its application in reality, the ambiguities connected to the provisions like lingering proviso, never-ending time span condition and non-contend statement. These provisos have been recognized and will be secured explicitly as their utilization have gotten exceptionally normal and hence gets essential to address the questions emerging out of them. It additionally gives a point of view on the vulnerability appended with the utilization of NDA in organization issues limiting exchange the developing condition. Lastly, the article closes by illuminating the means that can be embraced so as to relieve the suggestions in the event of penetrate of NDAs. The principle wellsprings of information for doctrinal exploration is simply the lawful instrument, for this situation the law books. Law of Contract and Specific Relief Act, by Avtar Singh and the Indian Contract Act – Dr. R.K Bhangia. Notwithstanding this Online Legal Websites like is utilized.

The previously mentioned sources give adequate conditions, cases and other significant data that can be concentrated to refer to them as models for characterizing the law, giving the applications and suggestions and to introduce an educated and impartial investigation and points of view to the characterized boundaries. Penetrate of NDAs and how to manage the related ramifications makes an extension further study.


Non-Disclosure Agreement has increased most extreme need in the organizations to defend their secret data which fill in as an advantage for them in this serious world. Attributable to the expanding utilization of NDA by business associations, the main goal of this investigation is to make this article effectively comprehendible to all the readers regardless of their scholarly world. Henceforth, the article has been drafted in a straightforward language so the readers get very much aware about the idea of Non-Disclosure Agreement, its importance, its sorts, its application through the clarification of different situations under which NDAs are utilized just as spreading out the conditions that underlines NDA by featuring the most utilized ones.

The article intends to build up a feeling of this law among the readers with the goal that they can get an away from of where NDA can be utilized and where it can’t be utilized. The article likewise expects to introduce before the readers a point of view on whether the expanding utilization of NDA with section of time is impeding the developing exchange. Ultimately, this examination targets breaking down the situations where NDAs tie the representatives to not uncover any wrongdoing of exercises that is going on inside the association and somewhat address the techniques to be received to manage such cases.

Circumstances where NDA’s are used

NDA makes sense anytime when a person wants to share something significant about our business and to ensure that the other party doesn’t utilize it without authorization, or steal it. So there are a few conditions in business which necessitate that significant, private or confidential information be shared with someone else. Non-disclosure agreements are used for variety of reasons; however basic role is in to guarantee that the other party regards the confidentiality and secrecy on the valuable information. So the confidential information needs to be clearly stated and should be classified before putting it in NDA, not doing so leads to a dispute between the parties.Though on account of, Sip-Top, Inc. v. Ekco Group, Inc.[i], 1996 the court refuse to assume the unapproved utilization of classified data revealed under a NDA, without proof of such unapproved use. In dismissing plaintiff case, the court gave the accompanying convincing thinking: The way that the data gave by offended party may have made respondent progressively educated in assessing whether to get plaintiff or buy the contender’s item doesn’t bolster an induction that litigant disregarded the Confidentiality Agreement. To acknowledge offended party’s contention we would need to make the preposterous derivation that each time an organization gets secret data it utilizes that data in the event that it haggles with another substance. The court clarified that such a surmising would prompt one of two similarly unsatisfactory outcomes:

  • Every time an organization went into fundamental dealings for a potential acquisition of another organization’s advantages in which the acquiring company was given restricted access to the objective’s proprietary innovations, the gaining gathering would adequately be blocked from assessing other expected targets; or
  • The acquiring company would, as a pragmatic issue, be compelled to settle on a buy choice without the advantage of assessment of the objective organization’s most significant resources its proprietary innovations. But what may be kept and classified into confidential and what shouldn’t be vital in grasping to ensure an NDA does not impede the rights of some people.

So in order to clear clouds in our mind, we need to look into circumstances where NDA’s are being used.

Firstly, when a product may be sold or licensed by the owner, one usually prevents the information from being revealed to anyone else either through keeping it secret or having any and everyone involved sighing an NDA, and this is done in order to prevent the potential purchaser from utilizing such information as upper-hand in different negotiations. Keeping the possibility of a sale or license being acquired provides an edge or could be used to leverage a greater edge in negotiations. A ton of monetary and company information data will trade hands during conversations so to ensure their protection an NDA is used.

Secondly, in case of confidential or Proprietary information, it takes considerable time and effort to build the business, Many businesses have certain processes or methods used to build products, with certain services or in how revenue increases, who all should be in the client list, other things like exclusive procedures, supplier and assembling agreements, etc, based on some procedures. In order to keep this information confidential and out of the hands of competitors or the public, an NDA should be used for all employees of the company who knows about the confidential information. Here Non- Solicitation clause comes into the picture which, refers to an agreement, or a clause in NDA, commonly between a employer and employee, that confines a employee from using the organization’s customers, clients, and contact records for individual gain after leaving the organization. On the topic of non-solicitation provision Delhi High Court in Wipro Limited v. Beckman Coulter International S.A[ii], 2006held that a non-solicitation stipulation doesn’t mean a limitation of trade, business or calling and would not be affecting by Section 27 of the Indian Contract Act[iii] as being void. An employee non-disclosure agreement blueprints the organization’s arrangements in regards to their exclusive data to which the worker approaches over the span of his tenure. This kind of NDA restricts employees from unapproved use, and sharing, of such data as customer records, financial data, business plans, business activities, Business models, and so on.

Thirdly, sometimes talking to an Accomplice or a Venture Capitalist can wheeze new life and opportunity into business and where it becomes obligation for one to share that information with them. So in that situation an offer may be presented with them, in some meetings. A copious amount of these meetings concerns sensitive or confidential information and it is pivotal that no details are disclosed to others outside of these arrangements. The talks could center on financials, personal data of either person or similar matters. An NDA in such case ensures that these specifics are kept under wraps unless the meeting has unrelated information. While most potential investors may refuse to sign an NDA for a startup, but an established company may prove that an NDA keeps the secrets and processes of the business secret for as long as possible.

In case of new clients that perform services for a company, usually sign and NDA to ensure that information may not be disclosed during or after this person is no longer associated with job duties, as a seller or throughout bound assistance. Persons who assist with marketing campaigns, who sell merchandise and that collect data all are usually required to sign the NDA so that disclosures are kept to a bare minimum.“We always require marketing partners to sign a non-disclosure agreement prior to granting access to our website, email list, social media accounts and advertising accounts. We spend a lot of time and money to build these assets and a NDA helps to protect them,” explains Cliff Sneider[iv],A person as a new client or may be appointed as an executive to work in it, everyone has  to sign NDA in order to maintain the integrity and secrecy with the confidential information of the company, this can explained with the help of illustration mentioned –

A guy named Mathew, who gets hired as a software analyst at a high-tech IT Company. The company is developing a new app for market launch through its new innovative idea analysis  at the company  and the ideas used in building up the application are kept confidential to forestall different organizations of a similar sort from getting any of the data and copying their work. As a state of business, Mathews is approached to consent to a non-disclosure agreement that expects him to keep any data relating to the work at the organization confidential. Once Mathew signs the organization’s non-disclosure agreement, he is required by law to keep the entirety of their data hidden. Sharing any of the data could result, in Matthews’ end, yet additionally a suit for break of agreement. Another situation often comes at the point when an individual considers engaging purchase out or obtaining offers, one need to share the entirety of his cards, all of money related and operational data to the possible purchaser. One never realizes that who is not kidding and who is a tire kicker, so in order to come out from this situation having an NDA with the potential buyer becomes necessary. So that if in the case that buyer did not purchase or come up with the deal, financial or other secret operational information will be secured.

Kinds of Non-Disclosure Agreement

A Non-Disclosure Agreement is an understanding wherein at least one party to an understanding concurs and undertakes not to disclose the confidential information determined in that understanding. That impedes the sharing of confidential information that has been revealed to them during a meeting or arrangement of any sort. So in this respect, in the situation where NDA incorporates two gatherings, out of which just one gathering uncovers certain data to the next and expects that the information is kept from any further disclosure called as Unilateral NDA or one- way NDA. Most NDAs fall into this category as with employers and employees or clients and vendor. Here the understanding exists to serve generally the one party who will make revelation, the ward and decision of law is ordinarily chosen by the revealing party. The second type being the Mutual or bilateral NDA which is used typically when companies or people are exploring a potential relationship such as a merger, collaboration, partnership or purchase. Here both the parties reveal confidential information to each other with an intention to protect and secure the information from external parties is called Bilateral NDA. However, in a Bilateral NDA where the two parties are making disclosures and require privacy from the other party, at that point it typically comes down to who has the greatest bargaining power yet from a realistic viewpoint, the bigger entity with an experienced legal team regularly gets the last say. Whereas third sort of NDA or uncommon sort is the Multilateral NDA which includes at least three or more parties and in any event one of the parties foresee unveiling information to other parties and necessitate that the data be protected from further revelation. A multilateral NDA is commonly favorable on the grounds that the parties include audit, execute and actualize only one agreement.

Lock horn Clauses of NDA

Residual Clause of NDA – NDAs are regularly seen as conventional, boilerplate understandings however parties frequently miss the way that all NDAs are not equivalent; often they contain arrangements which are weighted for either the discloser or recipient of information. A case of the last mentioned, which organizations miss or disregard at their hazard, is the supposed ‘residuals’ clause. Although the terms of the NDA are normally crafted in favor of the Disclosing Party, but there are couple of clauses that could potentially result in the cancellation of the benefits of the agreement. One of them generally known as the residual clause or residual information clause, basically, this clause allows the Receiving Party to share and utilize general information and ideas that are retained because of the working relationship, including confidential data. A reasonable residual clause will permit the Recipient Party to utilize general ideas, while an excessively wide residual clause will give the Recipient utilization of more specific ideas. Residuals clause are not a new creation, and they have in the past once in a while have been included in NDAs for M&A Transactions. With the technique solid action by private worth resources in M&A Transactions, merchant must give unequivocal idea to residuals condition, and in express occasions, are asked to just not search for after a M&A Transaction with any conceivable purchaser who demands the consideration of a residuals provision. Residuals statement are possibly hazardous considering the way that Parties to NDAs in M&A Transactions don’t consider over genuinely moving ownership to any learned individual/Confidential Information through the NDA. Or then again most NDAs in M&A Transactions are intended to simply permit access to the merchant’s Confidential Information so as to permit the purchaser to assess the proposed M&A Transaction. Dependent upon how a residuals condition is drafted, a vender may not have the foggiest idea about he’s moving significant rights to its Valuable or Confidential Information.

Indeed, even the most painstakingly drafted and custom fitted residuals clause posses huge hazard for vender. For instance, it’s hard to demonstrate in the case of something was held in somebody’s independent memory and what establishes previously known or learned data is, best case scenario, hard to recognize and expose to question, The Google-Space Data decision out of the Northern District of California in summer of 2017 highlighted the increased burden of proof resulting from an NDA’s residual clause.[i] The court determined that Space Data’s second amended complaint did “not sufficiently plead how Google’s alleged conduct was not covered by the residual provision, or how it went beyond the scope of the NDA.

However there are cases when one has no option but to agree to residual clauses, in such a scenario there are steps that one should take them to minimize the risk of information loss. This can be done by Limiting the extent of the clause or Define what constitutes ‘unaided’ memory so that use of notes and intentional memorizing are excluded, and one should restrict the count of individuals in the recipient’s organization who have authorization to access the confidential information or one should ensure that the residuals clause specifically excludes any license under the discloser’s patents and copyrights.

Time duration clause – Another very significant contemplation for non-disclosure agreement is the time span for which it is intended to be enforceable. Time duration clauses build up a limited and fix termination of an organization’s lawful obligation under the understanding. While signing a NDA the advantages of signing a time-duration proviso i.e., end of legally binding commitments, relies upon whether one is disclosing party or the receiving party of the information. On the off chance that one is the revealing party he/she will need to guarantee that the confidential information is saved ensured for as far as might be feasible, while in the event that one is the receiving party he/she will need to end the contractual commitment of keeping the data secret at earliest.

Indian judiciary has travelled on the both ways in this situation, whereas there are cases in which confidential information needs to be protected even after the contracts ends, but there are even real cases in which court has invalidated the agreement after the duration of the contract.

Same, here in the case of M/s.FLSmidth Pvt. Ltd. v. M/s.SecanInvescast (India) Pvt.Ltd., 2013[ii]

The learned single Judge properly held that the negative covenant of the understanding can be authorized only during the time of agreement and that the equivalent can’t be implemented after the expiry of the agreement. In general there are two types of time-span for these agreements: perpetual and with a stated time limitation. Stated time limitation is in the sense where the provision state something like the confidential information presented in this will keep going for two year after the exposure of confidential information. Whereas most of the times perpetual one leads to a problematic situation, here a significant information can be ensured as a proprietary innovation always as long as the proprietor keeps on taking sensible endeavors to keep up the information secret. A proprietary innovation has no time confinement and can keep going forever. It stays a proprietary innovation uncertainly till one can demonstrate that the secret keeps on having business esteem. It is commonly basic to the business suitability of a business. For example, Businesses like Coca-Cola and KFC[iii] have figured out how to save their proprietary innovations for a long time and try really hard to ensure their proprietary advantages, rewarding them with uncommon consideration. Confidential Information can be described broadly to cover everything from specialized data to showcasing data to customer’s rundown and upper hands. Some classified data may not expect mystery to connect past the completion of the business relationship anyway others will expect mystery to continue applying impressively after the end of the business relationship. A couple of countries have held that unending non-disclosure for private data can be satisfactory if the impact of exposure warrant it. Different countries take a hard situation against whatever may seem, by all accounts, to be a limitation on competition. In Lasership Inc. v. Watson[iv], 1979the court in Virginia held that the non-disclosure agreement was unenforceable in light of the fact that the arrangements that prevented the representative from sharing data about the business secured data that weren’t classified and furthermore it was absurd for the arrangements to apply inconclusively. In Augusta Medical Complex, Inc. v. Blue Cross of Kansas Inc[v], 1980 and the Kansas court indicated clear disgrace against contracts with inconclusive time spans.

Non-compete clause – In contract law, a non-contend proviso or agreement not to compete (CNC), is a clause under which one gathering typically a worker makes an arrangement to abstain from going into or start a comparable calling or exchange contention against another gathering, as a rule the business. A couple of courts suggest these as “restrictive covenant”. As it were it is a proviso by which Receiving Party makes a deal to avoid taking part in any work, counseling, or other movement including extent of work that rivals the business, proposed business, or business interests of Disclosing Party, and Receiving Party won’t help some other individual or element in doing as such, without Disclosing Party’s earlier composed assent. Employers use non-competition provisions in NDAs as an extra layer of assurance. NDAs keep the usage of private data inside the association, yet non-competition provision cutoff’s the worker’s ability to contend the association’s business. Rivaling the association’s business can incorporate the usage of information that may not meet the meaning of “confidential”.

In Shafron v KRG Insurance Brokers[vi], 2009 the Supreme Court of Canada expressed that prohibitive covenants, particularly in business contracts, must be unambiguous. All things considered, a limitation on contending inside the “Metropolitan City of Vancouver” was viewed as equivocal the worker opened a contending business in Richmond B.C., and the whole statement was struck down. In the event that the limitations are not satisfactory and unambiguous, at that point the sensibility of the limitation can’t be resolved, and the beginning stage will be that the limitations are preposterous. It is essential to take note of that if the prohibitive pledge is questionable, the courts won’t ‘fix’ it to make it understood. The

New York Times[vii] as of late wrote about non-compete conditions for cheap food laborers. Where a previous Subway representative got a letter from her organization helping her to remember the non-compete clause she’d marked. At the point when she began work at another sandwich shop in the territory, her past manager i.e., Subway reached her new chief. She got terminated accordingly.

The Indian law has especially clung to the letter of law and has been regarding such proviso more as idea of value than contract. Anyway it would be ad rem to investigate a portion of the cases that have been chosen by the Indian courts.

The Supreme Court of India, while considering with such a legally binding issue in Superintendence Company of India (P) Ltd. v. Sh. Krishan Murgai[viii], 1980 brought up the issue that whether a post-administration prohibitive agreement would fall within the mischief of Section 27 of the Indian Contract Act. The court held that an understanding, which had for its item a restriction of exchange, was by all appearances void. The Delhi High Court in Pepsi Foods Ltd. and Others v. Bharat Coca-Cola Holdings Pvt. Ltd. & others [ix], 1999 observed, “It is very much settled that such post termination restriction, disregard Section 27 of the Indian Contract Act. These type of contracts are unenforceable, void and against the public policy. What is prohibited by law cannot be permitted by Court’s injunction.” However with the developing legal, corporate and social circumstances the judiciary has slanted its view towards the non-compete clause giving it some consideration which is evident In the case of ‘Niranjan Shankar Golikari Vs the Century Spinning and Manufacturing Company Ltd.,’[x], 1967the Honorable Supreme Court observed that-“restraints or negative pledges in the appointment or agreements might be legitimate if they are reasonable.” Moreover explicitly in the situations of Intellectual Property, The property and ownership for Intellectual Property Rights in any Confidential Information granted to the Recipient under this Agreement shall belong only with the Owner or its outsider licensor(s). The Recipient shall not in any way communicate information relating to such software or documentation with any party at any time either during or after termination of the Agreement.

NDA – A Restraint of Trade or Boon for Business

NDAs, be that as it may, might be regarded void in the event that they are believed to be a Restraint of trade. The first case which developed the possibility of Restraint of exchange was during the 1890s in England. Weapon maker Thorsten Nordenfelt had sold his business, and the two gatherings had agreed that the seller ‘would not make firearms or ammo anyplace on the planet, and would not equal Maxim at all for a period of 25 years. The case[i] was heard by the House of Lords, which held that arrangement limiting Nordenfelt from making weapons and ammo was sensible anyway it additionally held that arrangement restricting rivalry in any capacity was an outlandish limitation of exchange and along these lines invalid.

Protection of classified data has become an issue of significant concern. Privacy and the utilization of the non-exposure understanding are points contacting and impacting everyday business life. Economy of every country is growing at rapid rate and the world is not living in isolation. On the contrary most of the country is associated with other country in some or other way, no one is living in an isolation, so some times Non disclosure agreement hinders than economic relationship economic growth in such a way as many companies and people find themselves bound by agreements such as NDA of which they are part and by that they are not able to grow in an independent way, not disclosing trade secrets is fine but it should not unreasonably restricts an individual to grow because it ultimately affect the rights of that person and even it has adverse impact on economy. As on account of Wipro Ltd. Beckman coulter International S.A, 2006 the court held that “the negative pledge among boss and representative in understandings relating to the period post end and limits a worker’s entitlement to look for business or to work together in a similar field as the business would be a Restraint of exchange consequently it is void”.[ii]

However the courts have also been slanted in taking into consideration the Restraint clause in cases where it seems to court that The Restraint is sensible; anyway the onus of demonstrating sensibility lies on the uncovering Party.

The Bombay high court on account of VFS worldwide framework v. Mr surpit Roy[iii], 2008held that a provision denying an employee from uncovering business or proprietary advantages isn’t a Restraint of exchange. The effect of such an announcement isn’t to control the specialist from rehearsing a legal calling, exchange or business inside the noteworthiness of Section 27 of the Indian Contract Act. So far as when the clause relates to any trade secret of the business organization the courts have favorably granted in favor of the disclosing party. The 2006 Reddy v Siemens Telecommunications[iv], 2006case carried out in the Supreme Court of Appeal, added an additional requirement being whether the restraint goes further than required to safeguard the employer’s protectable interest.

While looking at both the sides of coin NDA do have negative effects on growing business and even on the hardship of the workers. “Gilson (1999) was the first to suggest that California’s long-standing ban on non-competes as a “causal antecedent” for Silicon Valley’s rise to entrepreneurial prominence”[v]. Moreover, “Kim and Marschke (2005) cited legal literature stating that courts will be reluctant to enforce non-compete agreements given the potential for hardship on workers”[vi].In the English judge reviewing the first non-compete infringement, “Dyer’s Case of 1414[vii], was less than sympathetic to the plaintiff’s request that his former apprentice—a dyer of clothes—be enjoined from setting up shop in the same town (contrary to his non-compete employment contract). In fact, the judge threatened the plaintiff with jail time for having dared to prohibit someone from working”. But on the other hand NDA do help in growing business, whereas the authoritative inspiration for firms to utilize non-compete is to secure Trade secrets. In any case, as is apparent from the conversation above with respect to their effect on people, firms profit by non-compete in different manners too. Simpler retention of workers secures Trade secrets as well as gives different favorable advantages. To start with, the firm dodges exorbitant turnover and re-employment costs. Second, contenders are impeded from getting to important ability (in any event, when restrictive data isn’t thought of). Both of these help to support the firm competitive edge. Non-compete help’s with protecting the company’s serious situation by disheartening entry. In general, the courts find the restraint of trade to be unreasonable where they are too vague or broad in application. Therefore, employers should draw up relatively narrow agreements that would not be construed as too onerous, whilst concurrently justifiably safeguarding their protectable interests. If the employee has breached the restraint of trade agreement the employer may approach the court for an interdict preventing the breach or further breach.

In DB Riley Inc v AB Engineering corp.[viii], 1997  the plaintiff guaranteed that the respondent had gained the offended party’s proprietary innovation data and utilized that data to give itself an upper hand, regardless of a current legally binding concurrence with the offended party that limited revelation, so the court held that the data procured by the litigant was proprietary innovation data. In spite of that finding, the court held that the plaintiff didn’t take any satisfactory defensive measures to ensure exchange on the grounds that the plaintiff couldn’t exhibit that sensible advances were taken to defend mystery.

Compulsory Disclosure Required by Law

Exception to confidentiality terms- Before we discuss the exceptions to the confidentiality term it’ll be apt to mention a famous quote which goes as follows “Confidentiality is a virtue of the loyal, as loyalty is the virtue of faithfulness.” -Edwin Louis Cole

However there may be some unavoidable circumstances in which the party is under obligation to disclose the confidential information to third party. Such situation may occur if the administrative authority, government bodies may request such confidential information or for legal proceeding the gathering might be drawn nearer to uncover such private data. In such circumstance, the party sharing such confidential data will not be considered as encroaching the terms of Non Disclosure Agreement. Generally now it is an accepted norm to include a required disclosure Clause while drafting an NDA so in case if ever a disclosure of confidential information becomes inevitable it is already covered in the Agreement. An ideal required  disclosure clause of an NDA should accompany notice of disclosure. As Notice of Disclosure comes into the scenario when the accepting party may unveil Confidential Information in the event that it is constrained by Law to uncover any Confidential Information if the getting party gives the note worthy party brief composed notification so the noteworthy party may look for a defensive request or other suitable cure or defer consistence with the arrangements of that understanding, or it Cooperates with the noteworthy party to get a defensive request or another proper cure. Another aspect is of limited disclosure, if the gatherings can’t get a defensive request, another proper cure, or in any case neglect to subdue the legitimate procedure requiring revelation, the getting party may uncover the mentioned Confidential Information just to the degree important to fulfill the solicitation.

It is fundamental to grasp what is being cut under that uncommon case so an individual know when one may reveal information with the other party allocates as Secret and when the other party can reveal information and doles out it as private. An irrefutable exception is where the court orchestrates the disclosure of the information. Nonetheless, one should know about a creative gathering of “whistle blowing” unique cases. For a model (The Defend Trade Secrets Act 2016) , makes sure about sources who uncover restrictive bit of leeway information to government specialists or private attorneys for inspiration driving uncovering or investigating related encroachment with law. There have been occasions where certain social affairs, for instance, the organization, have been permitted the choice to propel a Recipient Party to reveal secret information. An instance of such an event happened in 2011 during the U.S. Government’s assessment of Wiki Leaks and one of its volunteers Jacob Appelbaum. The U.S. government had gotten a hold of  debatable sort of secret court solicitation to oblige Google Inc. besides, little Internet provider Inc. to redirect over information from the email records of Wiki Leaks volunteer Jacob Appelbaum . In such cases, the compelled revelation can refute the security of a NDA. In spite of the way that your Recipient Party will be not able to restrict the court demand for exposure, you should at any rate request that the Recipient Party give you satisfactory warning of the solicitation to enable a person to search for legal guarded fixes.

Indian courts to a very lesser degree however have dealt with a question of compulsory disclosure, in the case of Telefonaktiebolaget Lm v. Xiaomi Technology[i], 2014  wherein the plaintiff requested constitution of a confidentiality club for the disclosure of important confidential information pertinent to the case, the court accepted the contention of the plaintiff for constitution of a confidentiality club however with the certain conditions that included, all confidential data to be recorded in a fixed spread and kept in the sheltered guardianship of Registrar general, gatherings to give a sworn statement name of people who might be qualified for see the private data and those people will be limited by classification orders passed by this court and the procedure of the court will be in camera and just individuals from the secrecy club would be available.

On account of Warner-Lambert Co. v. Glaxo Laboratories Ltd.[ii], 1975 wherein it was held that they don’t know whether Mr. Burke Giblin, the Principal official of the complainant association, has adequate specialized information to empower him to comprehend the comforts of the specialized data which has been unveiled in the current case. It might be that he has not, however Mr. Gratwick for the offended party organization has expressed that he gets himself unfit to prompt Mr. Burke Giblin in any steady and intelligent sense without either explicitly or by suggestion uncovering the idea of that specialized data. In these conditions I as far as it matters for me I don’t consider that it is all in all correct to decline to let Mr.Burke Giblin know the data. Assuming, notwithstanding, it is to be revealed to him, this should, in my judgment, be on terms that he won’t unveil it to any other person without the assent of the litigant or by the leave of the court. It will be pertinent to discuss here sub-section 3 of Section 103 of the Patent Act, 1970[iii], as the section mulls over a circumstance where the revelation of any report with respect to the innovation might be made secretly just to a supporter or to a free master commonly settled upon. The explanation being is in this day and age of globalization, where rivalry is at its pinnacle, the associations may not be slanted to uncover proprietary innovations/secret understandings or its subtleties, it hosted entered with various gatherings for the dread that may make genuine bias such gatherings in view of rivalry included. Proprietary innovations may represent the deciding moment or may have a prophetically calamitous effect on the organization thus should be secured. When such revelation is made or is abused by an opponent and afterward no request for the Court can spare the organization from misfortune or could recover it to its underlying position.

Conclusion – “A Contract of Silence”

The booming use of NDA in the business world has brought with itself a lot of pros and cons, while an NDA has surely become the most effective tool for an organization/individual to protect its Most valuable confidential information/trade secret on which the survival of the business depends and the revelation of which will ultimately lead to culmination of the business, it has also become a lethal  weapon for the employer to abuse its employees after they have signed an NDA for example sometimes the organizations engage into illegal activities and although the employee gets to know about it he/she is unable to disclose such information because he/she is bound by the NDA which often comes with a hefty financial penal clause and also if the employee reveals such data no other organization will be willing to offer employment to such individual, in such a scenario its more germane to refer it as CONTRACT OF SILENCE.

Policy – Deciding the ideal implementation strategy for non-compete is a long way from a basic issue. Were it in this way, state rules would since a long time ago converged. Indeed, even as of late as 2008, different states have taken clashing ways with respect to the enforceability of non-compete agreements Idaho and Louisiana extended the ability of firms to enforce non-competes, while Oregon and New York restricted their ability to do so. Undoubtedly, the pondering of these changes went before a great part of the as of late distributed work on non-disclosures and in this manner couldn’t be educated by all of the above discoveries. Yet, even given powerful exploration results, policy determination is a long way from direct.

It is best to begin by expressing what we do not know. Neither we nor different researchers indicate to have played out a fully-fledged assistance that yields a complete answer with respect to whether Non-disclosure agreement is a net positive or negative. Rather, in accordance to sum up strains and contemplations for strategy creators who are assessing how to deal with non-compete inside their jurisdiction. It is imperative to keep in mind that a universal approach is not required; contrasting policies can be adopted for different sectors.  And it will be best to start the implementation of NDA by categorizing sectors. For example Attorneys are exempt from non-compete understandings.

Law with respect to secretly commitments is in its beginning phases in India. Without a snapshot of uncertainty, Indian courts have endeavored to acknowledge and maintain an impartial point of view, embracing a made to order approach. With the world turning into a more modest spot each spending day because of the coming of globalization, the significance of very much characterized standards of trade is critical. An away from of classified data and related terms and responsibilities are intrinsically needed for a quickly developing economy like India. An able and new sanctioning will help the dynamic laws. Paying no regard to these basic necessities will bring about the hosing of the sparkle of laws. advancement and hindering advancement.

So, in order to curb all the curves in Glossy path, Lawmaking bodies and courts ought to create more clear limits about the enforceable extent of NDAs and ought to punish managers that weaponries these agreements such that smothers discourse and inventiveness. A effective mechanism needs to come in place so as to regulate the use of a NDA.   Proprietary innovation laws have positively adjusted the compromises inalienable in fencing a few sorts of data; these laws have weighed up, the making a sensible strategy deal. The law ought to enlighten that NDAs can’t develop the legitimate clarification of exchange mystery to request privacy about data that has little to do with an organization’s brilliant edge.


Bangia, D. R. Indian Contract Act, (2009) Reprint 🙁 2013). Allahabad Law Agency.

Joshi, N. (2020, October 24). [TRP scam] once document is in public domain, it becomes subject of comment by media: Mumbai court refuses injunction against Republic TV. Bar and Bench – Indian Legal news.

Klee, M. M. (2000). The importance of having a non-disclosure agreement. IEEE engineering in medicine and biology magazine, 19(3), 120.

Lundholm, R., & Van Winkle, M. (2006). Motives for disclosure and non-disclosure: a framework and review of the evidence. Accounting and Business Research, 36(sup1), 43-48.

Media Matters for America.

Non-disclosure agreement form | Draft an NDA agreement online. (n.d.). Free legal advice for startups and SMEs online.

Non-disclosure agreement in India. (n.d.). Lawyersclubindia.

Non-disclosure. (2020, December 11). SCC Blog.

Philip, R. M. (2002). Silence at Our Expense: Balancing Safety and Secrecy in Non-Disclosure Agreements. Seton Hall. L. Rev., 33, 845.

Singh, A. (2004). Law of contract and specific relief. Eastern Book Company.

Victor, D. W. (2013). U.S. Patent Application No. 13/424,049.

Victor, D. W. (2016). U.S. Patent No. 9,355,384. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Witman, P. (2005). The art and science of non-disclosure agreements. Communications of the Association for Information Systems, 16(1), 11.

Author’s Information:

Tarun Sharma: Student, ULC, Bangalore University,

Rajat Srivastav: Student, Dr. Patil Law College, Mumbai University,

[i] Sip-Top, Inc. v. Ekco Group, Inc, 86 F.3d 827(USA), (8th Cir. 1996)
[ii] Wipro Limited v. Beckman Coulter International S.A, (3) ARBLR 118 (Delhi, India) 2006
[iii] The Indian Contract Act 1872, s. 27
[iv] CEO of
[v] Space Data Corp. v. Alphabet Inc. Dist. Court, Case No. 16-cv-03260-BLF, (USA) (N.D. Cal. Jul. 14, 2017)
[vi] M/s.FLSmidth Pvt. Ltd. v. M/s.SecanInvescast (India) Pvt. Ltd. , 1(TC 886), (India) (2013)
[vii] Sabra Chatrand, February 02, 2001, Patents; Many companies will forgo patents in an effort to safeguard their trade secrets”, The New york Time,
[viii] Lasership Inc. v. Watson, 79 Va. Cir. 205(USA) (1979)
[ix] Inc Augusta Medical Complex. v. Blue Cross of Kansas Inc., (227 Kan. 469 (USA) (1980)
[x] Shafron v KRG Insurance Brokers, (1 SCR 157)2009
[xi] Neil Irvin, (October 14, 2014) Non-Compete Clauses for Fast Food Workers, The New York Times. Retrieved from
[xii] Superintendence Company of India (P) Ltd. v. Sh. Krishan Murgai, AIR 1980 SC(India) 1717
[xiii] Pepsi Foods Ltd. and Others v. Bharat Coca-Cola Holdings Pvt. Ltd. & others, VAD Delhi 93, (India) 1999
[xiv]‘Niranjan Shankar Golikari Vs the Century Spinning and Manufacturing Company Ltd.,’ AIR 1098, (India) 1967
[xv] “Nodenfelt v. Maxim, Nodenfelt and  Ammunition Co. Ltd., AC 535” (UK) (1984)
[xvi] ARBLR 118 (Delhi), (India) 2006 (3)
[xvii] VFS Global Services Private v. Mr. Suprit Roy 2008,  Bom.CR 446, 2008
[xviii] Reddy v Siemens Telecommunications  (251/06) ZASCA 135, (South Africa) [2006]
[xix] Gilson, (1999), DOI, Uchicago Journal,
[xx] Kim and Marschke, (2005), Legal Literature, Uchicago Journal,
[xxi] Dyer’s case, 2 Hen. V, fol. 5, pl. 26, (1414)
[xxii] DB Riley, Inc. v. AB Engineering Corp., 977 F. Supp. 84 (USA) (D. Mass. 1997)
[xxiii] Telefonaktiebolaget Lm v. Xiaomi Technology, [CS (OS) no. 3775 / 2014], (India) 2014
[xxiv] Warner-Lambert Co. v. Glaxo Laboratories Ltd. ,RPC 354 (CA), (Calcutta) [1975]
[xxv]The Patent Act 1970, ss.3 of s.103  “If in such proceedings as aforesaid any question arises whether an invention has been recorded, tested or tried as is mentioned in section 100, and the disclosure of any document regarding the invention, or of any evidence of the test or trial thereof would, in the opinion of the Central Government, be prejudicial to the public interest, the disclosure may be made confidentially to the advocate of the other party or to an independent expert mutually agreed upon.”