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Will that NDA’s Residuals Clause Cost You Your Trade Secrets?

Envelope stamped Top Secret, symbolizing a residuals clause in an NDAAnyone who has worked in technology is familiar with nondisclosure agreements (NDAs). Differences among NDAs usually are small; they tend to cover the same territory in similar ways. However, NDAs from large companies often contain what I consider a most pernicious provision: A ” residuals clause “.

Residuals Clause Explained

A residuals clause excludes from confidentiality obligations information that the recipient’s personnel retain in their memories. Here is a typical provision, from the Microsoft Confidentiality Agreement for Licensing Discussions [document no longer available online]: (more…)