How to get compensation for intellectual property?

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How to get compensation for intellectual property?

I’m a small business owner and buy my products for a health supplement company. The company provides testing info. I figured out a better way to use them and provided the info to the company in a Quick Start Guide. The company incorporated it into their testing materials with no compensation to me. Do I have any recourse of getting compensated for my intellectual property? From what I understand from their sales staff, they have made millions of dollars of sales on the new information. This happened several years ago. I assumed at some point they would compensate me.

Asked on July 9, 2012 under Business Law, Florida

Answers:

Jonathan Pollard / Pollard LLC

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Never assume.  You always need to cover your bases.  When you provided this information to the company, you should have done so under some type of contract--- a nondisclosure agreement; a contract indicating that you were to be compensated if they used your materials; etc. 

If you did not do that (as it appears), then you are in a very tough position.  You handed the materials over with no expectation that your ideas would remain confidential or that you would be compensated.  You will struggle to make a case for misapropriation of an idea.  Further, as this happened "several years ago", you are possibly time barred, meaning that it's too late to file.  An exception to this might be if misapropriation of an idea is considered a continuing tort (meaning that it keeps happening so the clock doesn't run out). 

I would say you have a shot, but it's a pretty slim one. You should consult with a lawyer in your area, provide him/her with all the details and let them make the call.  Good luck.


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