In Ferber, the Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendant because "[p]laintiff failed to produce any evidence to support his claim that the idea which he disclosed to defendants was novel either in the abstract or as to them."Summary of this case from Nadel v. Play-By-Play Toys Novelties
Argued September 2, 1980
Decided October 7, 1980
Appeal from the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court in the Second Judicial Department, ANTHONY J. FERRARO, J.
I. Walton Bader for appellant.
Douglas M. Kraus and Miriam L. Siroky for respondents.
The order of the Appellate Division should be affirmed, with costs.
As the court below found, plaintiff failed to produce any evidence to support his claim that the idea which he disclosed to defendants was novel either in the abstract or as to them. In order to successfully oppose a motion for summary judgment, plaintiff must come forward with some admissible proof that would require a trial of the material questions of fact on which his claim rests. Absent a showing of novelty, plaintiff's action to recover damages for illegal use of "confidentially disclosed ideas" must fail as a matter of law. (See Downey v General Foods Corp., 31 N.Y.2d 56.)
Moreover, prior to any alleged use of plaintiff's idea by defendants, two patents had been issued to unrelated third parties for devices which encompassed the very concepts plaintiff alleges he disclosed to defendants. Therefore, even if we were to assume that plaintiff's idea was novel when disclosed, all novelty was lost with the issuance of these patents because they caused plaintiff's idea to fall into the public domain. (See Platzman v American Totalisator Co., 45 N.Y.2d 910.) Therefore, summary judgment for defendants was properly granted.
Chief Judge COOKE and Judges JASEN, GABRIELLI, JONES, WACHTLER, FUCHSBERG and MEYER concur in memorandum.