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  • What regulatory i should know when seeking cosmetic chemists?

    Posted by NicolLin on February 10, 2017 at 7:04 am

    I am currently seeking for cosmetic chemists to develop a product. I have found some contacts in LinkedIn, and there are contract chemists with other company but still want to meet me for advice. 

    So my question are:

    1. Is there a possible chance that they might just want to steal or hear that product ideas for the benefit of their existing company? 

    2. What regulatory should I know when working with chemists, in order to protect the idea of the product, product and formula license?

    3. Where is the best places to seek for local cosmetic chemist (based in Melbourne)?

    Please give me some advices. Thank you very much.

    Bobzchemist replied 6 years, 3 months ago 6 Members · 7 Replies
  • 7 Replies
  • johnb

    February 10, 2017 at 7:43 am

    1 & 2. A confidentiality agreement (drawn up by a professional lawyer) should provide the protection you require. Indeed, it should be a sine qua non for all contracts which involve even the slightest exchange of confidential information.

    3. Cannot help with that.

  • Bobzchemist

    February 10, 2017 at 2:52 pm

    Check with the Australian Society of Cosmetic Chemists

    Also remember that even a brilliant, genius-level idea is relatively worthless without the hard work and marketing investments behind it that are required for a successful product.

  • OldPerry

    Professional Chemist / Formulator
    February 10, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    I’ll second @Bobzchemist observation that great ideas are worthless without many other factors.  

    Formulators and Contract manufacturers are in the business to make formulas and products.  If they wanted to be cosmetic marketers (or were even good at it) they would be in that business.  It’s not easy to launch a successful product line and it takes a lot of luck.  There is much less competition in the business of creating formulas.

    They also see hundreds of ideas a year which every person who has the idea thinks is brilliant.  I say don’t worry about someone stealing your idea. Besides, if your idea is good enough for someone to want to steal it, they’ll get around any confidentiality agreement they sign.

    When searching for a formulator some things you should look for…

    1.  Person has the expertise in making the formula you want to launch.  Not every cosmetic chemist can make lipstick, color cosmetics, shampoos or skin creams.

    2.  Find someone who is responsive.  Most formulators that you contact will probably not even respond to your email or phone call.  If they are too busy to respond, you won’t enjoy working with them.

    3.  Work with people who are easy to find online.  It’s not a requirement that a formulator have a website but if they are not actively searching for formulation jobs (via the Internet) you probably don’t want to work with them. It means they probably have enough industry contacts with big companies that they don’t really need to work with new startups.

  • NicolLin

    February 11, 2017 at 7:19 am

    Thank all professors for advice, very helpful. 

  • MarkBroussard

    Professional Chemist / Formulator
    February 11, 2017 at 1:41 pm


    This happens all the time … everyone thinks they have an idea so unique … “there’s nothing like it on the market” … we hear it all the time.  No one is in the business to steal your idea, and no offense, but you’re idea is probably not really as unique as you think it is.

    Regarding NDA’s, I simply don’t sign them.  Non-Disclosure is part of my contract and should be presumed, otherwise I would not be in business.  

    Second issue is as development chemists we see all sorts of new product ideas, but they are generally variations on a theme … this or that in a Shampoo as opposed to that or this … variations on ingredients, but at the end of the day, still a Shampoo.  So, there is virtually nothing that you could have thought of that is so unique regarding a Shampoo formulation that I cannot prove that I had prior knowledge of, except for some specific ingredient deck.  So, the NDA really does not protect you the way you think it may since very little, if any, of the information you are going to provide to me is actually confidential, except for a specific ingredient deck. 

    For a contract to be legally binding, each party must receive some sort of consideration.  If I sign an NDA with you, but we never actually execute a development contract, now I have an NDA in place with a party who never actually became a client and who did not to pay me any consideration.  And, all those NDA’s with people who never actually became clients may be in various legal jurisdictions, unless I specifically specify my home district as the legal jurisdiction.  And, since I did not receive any consideration, the contract is not really legally binding.  

    So, signing an NDA with a potential client, just for them to tell you their idea is something I simply do not do. I hope this gives you some insight into the real value of an NDA … it’s virtually worthless as a form of legal protection.

    Same with patents in the cosmetics arena.  Any chemist worth their salt can work around a patent in a heartbeat.

  • Microformulation

    Professional Chemist / Formulator
    February 11, 2017 at 5:23 pm

    @MarkBroussard hit each and every talking point I wanted to touch on. I for one will sign an NDA BUT not until we have signed on for the job. I interpret them narrowly. Several years ago I was urged to sign one for $1 and the client was what we call a “tire kicker.” Several months later a more serious client approached me with the exact same “broad” idea for a product line and I had to pass ethically. I made a dollar and lost several thousand dollars in the process.

    As it has been said, either we have heard of your idea OR (as nobody has touched on) the idea is not possible and has no proof of concept. I had someone send me a message just last week outlining a miraculous product that really existed only in Science Fiction. To compound the issue they closed with “it has to be natural and Chemical free.” I passed, hard.

  • Bobzchemist

    February 12, 2017 at 3:32 pm

    One more point - I’ve gotten a couple of clients whose brilliant idea turned out to be illegal/against FDA regulations. It wasn’t easy to convince them of this.