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   Ownership rights of IP
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   Author  Topic: Ownership rights of IP  (Read 897 times)
doug vagedes
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Ownership rights of IP
« on: Oct 3rd, 2007, 2:43pm »
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I have a patent pending product that I am now beginning to submit to several catalog companies that are mailed to consumers.  I notice that Catalog Company A (name changed) and a couple others have a paragraph or one similar to this one below under their terms and conditions.
 
"Any suggestions, ideas, messages or data submitted by you to Catalog Company A through this Website or other affiliated websites shall be and remain the exclusive property of Catalog Company A. Therefore, we discourage you from submitting information that you do not want Catalog Company A to have, including confidential information or original creative materials such as product ideas. Your submission of such information shall constitute an agreement that Catalog Company A has all worldwide right, title and interest in and to all copyrights and other intellectual property rights in the information. Catalog Company A is entitled to use, copy, modify, disclose and distribute any of the information for any purpose without restriction or compensation in any way to you."
 
Does the inventor lose all rights if they submit a product to them for consideration in their catalog?
 
These catalogs are full of unique ideas that I'm sure are patented.  Surely the IP still grants the holder full rights over the terms and conditions above.
 
I also realize that the patent pending status does not grant me the rights until the patent is hopefully issued.
 
As always, thank you for your thoughts.
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patag2001
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Re: Ownership rights of IP
« Reply #1 on: Oct 3rd, 2007, 6:03pm »
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Under what jurisdiction is the website?  For example, are they in Germany or some other country outside the United States?  
 
If an agreement is constituted by clicking a send button, does a valid contract follow under State Law (assuming the website is in California)?  If the contract is under State Law, I would think that Federal Law trumps the State.
 
I really dont know the answer.  Good question.
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patent_type
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Re: Ownership rights of IP
« Reply #2 on: Oct 3rd, 2007, 7:25pm »
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Looks like standard type of language to avoid lotsa hassle associated with unsolicited idea submissions.  If you really want to submit an idea to them, consider contacting them to find out if if they accept product ideas for listing in their catalog.  It doesn't look like it is a good idea to send an unsolicited idea to them through their website.  If they do accept products for listing in the catalog, there is a lot of information that will go back and forth before they agree to any listing--including one or more contracts.
 
Do you want them to make the product, too?  How do they know that?  Are you going to make the product? Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
 
If they do consider third party products, consider asking them to sign a non-disclosure or confidentiality agreement.  If they do consider third party products, think about getting a lawyer on your side to preserve your rights.  That is a reasonable business expense (not tax advice) for doing business.  You sure don't wanna trust advice from a pimply teenager posting on an anonymous chat board, do ya?
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doug vagedes
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Re: Ownership rights of IP
« Reply #3 on: Oct 4th, 2007, 6:23am »
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These are US companies. I have to believe that their attorneys worded the language to give their client every right possible, (including ownership of your kitchen sink if they wanted it) even though many conditions may not stand in the proper jurisdiction.
 
Based on the language of their terms, would Catalog Company A really "take over ownership" of your patent?
 
It seems very deceiving to me.
 
I guess it comes down to knowing what you are agreeing to and the implications that come with it and/or having an attorney review each situation.
 
I think I'll just stay away from some of these companies.
« Last Edit: Oct 4th, 2007, 6:24am by doug vagedes » IP Logged
SoCalAttny
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Re: Ownership rights of IP
« Reply #4 on: Oct 8th, 2007, 12:08pm »
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This is not legal advice, my general opinion only. Find an attorney in your area for a specific analysis.
 
 
The website agreement applies to what you send them. Are sending a product? If so, watch out.
 
If you are sending photographs and descriptions I would not be too concerned.
 
Also, base your level of concern on the other products advertised.  
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