Intellectual Property and the Law of Ideas  book cover
1st Edition

Intellectual Property and the Law of Ideas

  • Available for pre-order on December 19, 2022. Item will ship after January 9, 2023
ISBN 9780367708092
January 9, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
82 Pages

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Book Description

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.

Table of Contents

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





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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.