RALEIGH, N.C.—Who owns a good idea? With increasing frequency, those questions are being answered in courtooms—and millions, or even billions, of dollars are at stake.
The most notable recent example is an ongoing lawsuit concerning the ownership of Facebook. Web designer Paul Ceglia is suing Facebook, claiming he rightfully should own 84 percent of the multi-billion dollar social networking empire. Also, two Michigan advertisers successfully sued Taco Bell for $40 million after they claimed they first presented the restaurant chain with the idea for its Chihuahua advertising campaign.
Womble Carlyle attorney Todd Sullivan recently joined Bloomberg Radio to discuss the rise of what he describes as “idea litigation.”
Sullivan said such lawsuits have increased in number and prominence because ideas have never been more valuable. Also, these technology-based ideas often come from start-up entrepreneurs and may lack well-crafted ownership documents.
"There was a lot of litigation that came out of the dot-com explosion over who owns what properties,” Sullivan told the program. "The parties didn’t have the financial ability to create contracts that were imminently understandable and enforceable."
Click here to hear the interview on Bloomberg Radio (courtesy of Bloomberg Radio).