Neither administrators of the competition nor judges of the business plans will be required, nor should they be asked, to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). The University of Tennessee, instead, will ask all who view the business plans to abide by the University’s Honor Code. Participants are encouraged to be selective about what they disclose, to label plans and contents with the words “CONFIDENTIAL AND PROPRIETARY”, and to seek legal counsel if they have any further questions regarding the legal protection of their ideas.
Contestants are responsible to protect any information concerning the plan that they share with mentors, team members, and fellow participants of the Business Plan Competition. The Business Plan Competition directors take no responsibility for unwanted disclosure in these instances.
Contestants should be careful about disclosing information concerning patentable concepts. Although a patent application can be filed in the U.S. up to one year after the first public disclosure of an invention, many foreign countries do not allow patent applications unless they are implemented before any sort of public disclosure.