What is a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) with a Supplier?

There are cases where a product is available on the Digi-key site, but the documentation needed to use the product is missing or incomplete. In other cases, the product is available from a manufacturer, but the customer must provide further information as requested before the sale is allowed. Very often, these situations may involve a non-disclosure agreement, commonly called an NDA.

These agreements are also used in other areas of life such as the exchange of financial or legal information, medical records, business contracts, etc. Each non-disclosure agreement has its own details and requirements, and technology NDAs will specify the rules that a customer must follow. Some common reasons that a manufacturer may require an NDA are unpatented technologies or designs, unique algorithms (code) within components, restrictions regarding transfers of technology or data across national lines, etc. Many of the questions in technology NDAs pertain to ‘Who is the customer?’ and ‘What does the customer plan to do with this product?’

There is no active list to track which suppliers and products will require an NDA, but OmniVision provides a clear example of how the process might work. Start with the supplier home page, OmniVision, and click on the Support tab. Hovering over the Support tab will also work.

The option to ‘Request a Datasheet’ will appear, and after clicking on that, Omnivision will ask for a customer’s current NDA status.

Each status (Yes/No) leads to a different process which is relevant only to Omnivision. Other manufacturers may have this process in place for only certain types of products, and the information that they require from customers could also be different. They should all be similar in purpose, though.

It must be noted, however, that initiating an NDA process does not guarantee that the manufacturer will accept the request. A customer may be turned down for any reason.

Continuing with the same supplier for a specific example, part number OS05A20-H73A-1C has a datasheet titled OS05A20 Brief which is actually a very short product summary. Much more information is needed to use this image sensor, and therefore customers must proceed with the NDA process.

For more image sensors and related products, start a search from the Digi-key home page. Not sure about the NDA status of a product? Search our forum content or post the question on the main page of our TechForum.