I have found that laypeople are often wary about signing a document that they really don`t understand. You may have a problem getting seamstresses to work with you if you insist that they sign a legal document before they do. The pattern that you`re providing to the seamstresses holds common law copyright and you can always protect your rights that way.
I don`t expect anyone to think my opinion carries any weight, it just doesn`t seem to around here but I am compelled to comment nonetheless. Deena`s advice is the ONLY
advice I`ve ever read on StartUpNation that is on target in this aspect.
However, I would qualify the reasons for one`s reluctance to sign -based on my 25+ years providing pattern and prototyping services in the garment industry. Keep in mind the below applies to people like me with a long history in the business (the people you most need to hire). The top ten reasons we don`t want to sign are:
1. The DE (designer-entrepreneur) is using intellectual property that does not belong to her/him. Iow, they`re using a home sewing pattern or a product belonging to someone else.
2. The DE has lifted the idea from someone else. It is far more common that startups copy each other, people on their same level, than it is for established firms and services to do it. It is arrogant for them to expect us to be ethically bound to hide their unethical behavior.
3. The item is usually ubiquitous and can`t be protected. Lots of eye rolling (a sign of contempt) goes on when you`re not around and you`ll never get the best work out of people who don`t respect you.
4. The DE broadcasts information I would consider to be highly proprietary to the world, yet they expect us to be liable if it gets out? This is ludicrous. Unfortunately, most -and I do mean most- startups have NO CLUE what is proprietary. It is never what they think.
5. It`s insulting on many levels.
a. It`s just not that great; it wouldn`t be worth the hassle of going broke over and we would go broke. Word gets out (see below). It`s insulting that someone would think their product idea is worth ruining lifetime careers, reputations and credibility. NO ONE on the planet has an idea that valuable. Our integrity is not for sale at any price.
b. You are not how we get business. Except on my private forum, a designer will never tell a potential competitor who makes their patterns, where they buy fabrics, or who does their sewing so we get no referrals from you. We rely on our peers (usually "competitors") for business. We will not refer our colleagues who have the slightest whiff of impropriety. There are enough bad apples in the business who make us look bad.
c. It implies we are unethical. People tend to expect from others what they are themselves. If your paradigm is that everyone else is usually unethical, it tells me you are yourself and worse. My reputation is in part, determined by yours. No thanks.
d. It implies we are incompetent. The person designing the pattern or making the product most likely knows more about the product than you ever will (trust me). Why would you insult someone who is more competent than you are?
6. We don`t care about the same things you do. We don`t care about things that are truly proprietary (customer lists, sources, reps etc) and only rarely have need to know them (exceptions would be troubleshooting your sizing strategy as per retail base).
7. It says a lot about your psychological health. You`re operating and motivated by fear. Fearful people make poor decisions pulled every which way by whim and the latest perceived threat. Fearful people don`t prioritize and strategize well.
8. DEs try to limit the sort of work we do. This is beyond annoying and insulting. You`ve hired someone because
they specialize in your product type. How is your product so valuable that you could expect others to cease working in their specialty just for you? Are you going to pay all our bills for the lifetime of the contract? I didn`t think so.
9. NDAs are useless to protect you. If you`re placing your confidence in protecting your idea in this way, you don`t know enough to know which other ways are
effective in protecting your product. That means you also don`t know much in other respects and you`ll be a lot of hassle, need hand holding or consulting that you`re most likely not paying us for.
10. It says the client lacks imagination. People who are obsessed with NDAs have typically had only one idea in their lives so they must protect it. Problem is, we only make money on repeat customers. If you only have one idea, you won`t last and won`t stick around to pay our bills. It`s not worth investing our time to educate you if you won`t be around. We only make money on you over the long term.
Frankly, I love it when someone whips out an NDA. These people are usually really hard to work with, they don`t know anything about the business so I`m glad to know at the outset so I can send them on their way. This isn`t how you protect your idea but they won`t listen and if they won`t listen, there`s a jizillion other things they won`t hear either.
Personally, I`d be much more inclined to hire someone who refused to sign an NDA over one who would. Experienced professionals know these are useless (for all intents and purposes) to protect you; they don`t need a threat of sanctions hanging over their heads to operate ethically. Many who will sign, know this gives you a false sense of confidence so they can`t lose either way.
~Nurture people, not products~