A non-disclosure agreement (NDA), otherwise called confidentiality agreements, are private contracts whereby valuable information is kept safe. It states that should the person break the legal agreement on confidentiality they can be held legally accountable. An NDA can, therefore, be a useful tool to keep a trade secret secure.
It might also be useful to consider a secrecy clause in employment contracts for employees that work with trade secrets.
An NDA can protect information on all development stages of innovation, even after it has reached the market. It is always recommended that you seek the services of an IP lawyer to assist you in drafting an NDA and secrecy clauses in employment contracts.
It is often problematic for companies to get other parties to sign NDAs. Many larger companies will not consider signing an NDA unless they have considerable interest in the idea. It is therefore important to define what information is an integral and valuable part of the idea and could actually qualify as a trade secret. Only then should they attempt to limit access to that specific information and make sure that it is kept safe. This can also help a company define what they can talk about when they are talking to potential partners, investors or other outside parties.
More information on NDAs