1st Edition

Intellectual Property and the Law of Ideas

By Kurt Saunders Copyright 2021
    82 Pages
    by Routledge

    82 Pages
    by Routledge

    Ideas are the fuel of industry and the entertainment business. Likewise, manufacturers receive suggestions for new products or improvements to existing products, and retailers frequently receive ideas for new marketing campaigns. Many ideas are not new and may be used by anyone without the risk of incurring any legal liability, but some ideas are novel and valuable. If the originator of a potentially useful idea does not have the financial resources to exploit the idea, he or she may submit it to another, with the expectation of receiving compensation if the idea is used. Although an extensive body of intellectual property law exists to protect the rights of inventors, authors, and businesses that own valuable brands or confidential proprietary information, raw ideas receive no protection. Nevertheless, the originator of a potentially useful and marketable idea is not without legal recourse. The courts have developed, through a long line of common law precedents, legal protection for novel and concrete ideas under certain circumstances. The originator of an idea can rely on contract law, whereby the recipient may expressly or impliedly agree to pay for the idea. Alternatively, if the idea is disclosed in confidence, its unauthorized use by the recipient allows the originator of the idea to recover compensation. Finally, some courts have treated the ownership of ideas as quasi-property rights.

    Chapter 1 Introduction to the Law of Ideas

    Chapter 2 Legal Theories of Idea Protection

    Contract Law

    Breach of Express Contract

    Breach of Implied Contract

    Unjust Enrichment and Quasi-Contract

    Breach of Confidence or Confidential Relationship

    Misappropriation of Property

    Chapter 3 Intellectual Property Protection and Preemption

    Patent Law

    Copyright Law

    Trademark Law

    Trade Secret Law

    Federal Preemption of State Law Theories of Idea Protection

    Patent Preemption

    Copyright Preemption

    Trade Secret Preemption

    Chapter 4 Requirements for Idea Protection

    The Novelty Requirement

    The Concreteness Requirement

    Chapter 5 Scope of Liability for Idea Theft

    Recipient’s Use of the Idea

    The "Blurt-Out" Defense

    The Independent Development Defense

    Chapter 6 Comparative Approaches to Idea Protection

    Protection of Ideas under International Intellectual Property Law

    Protection of Ideas under National Laws

    Chapter 7 Practical Aspects of Idea Submissions

    Idea Providers: The Nondisclosure Agreement

    Idea Recipients: The Idea Submission Agreement

    Chapter 8 Selected Bibliography on the Law of Ideas

    Index of Main Cases and Authorities

    Index of Terms






    Kurt M. Saunders is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Business Law at California State University, Northridge. He received his B.S. in Economics from Carnegie Mellon University, a J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh, and an LL.M. in Intellectual Property Law from George Washington University. He is the author of the books, Intellectual Property Law: Legal Aspects of Innovation and Competition (2016) and Practical Internet Law for Business (Artech 2001), as well as numerous law review and journal articles on intellectual property law, business and commercial law, internet law, and legal education. He is currently the Chair of the Department of Business Law at California State University and teaches courses in intellectual property law, business law, estates and trusts law, and international business law. Prior to his academic career, he was an attorney in Pennsylvania, with his main areas of practice in business planning, intellectual property, and wills and estates law.