During the patent process, you may come across situations in which you should use a non-disclosure agreement. For example, an investor may want details about your idea before funding your business. A vendor may need to see detailed drawings in order to produce a prototype of your invention. In all such situations in which you disclose confidential information to third parties, you should employ a non-disclosure agreement. Confidential information about your inventions includes the content of your patent application, discoveries, models, and designs. Third parties may exploit your invention to competitors with this information. A non-disclosure agreement creates a contract between you and a third party that they will keep your idea a secret. Make sure they sign the agreement before you reveal your idea.