Intellectual Property Law
Intellectual Property Law Questions? Ask a Lawyer
No. There was not an NDA, but the fact that we've sold the program for five months - including twice on their show - and its been published on the web in various incarnations should make it our intellictual property, shouldn't it? Plus, they basically stole the whole outline and theme. It's the same program top down, just with a different guy doing it.
You've got to read the copy. They stole phrases and words we've been using.
Thank you for your follow-up, Jarrad.If you never formally copyrighted the program and provided it to them, they can argue that you transferred the license over to them for their own use (at least that is what they can potentially argue if your idea came to them essentially unprotected). There must still be a claim or some direct link stating that this was 'yours' and not meant to have been shared or disseminated with others. Your own words or comments--that IS your intellectual property, and that cannot be used without your permission...but using a program whose design was never patented, protected, or copyrighted is a bit of a different story. The same goes for the outline and the theme--if you never protected it or stated that this was yours and you did not wish to transfer any rights to anyone else, they could potentially take the idea, re-brand it, and get someone else to pursue it. You can still file a 'cease and desist' against them, but without any evidence that the information was supposed to have been kept as yours, they have legal wiggle room to claim that they were not infringing. As for how to file for a cease and desist, that is not a petition--you send them a letter, usually via an attorney, demanding that they cease. If they fail to do so, you retain counsel and file against them for damages and also seeking an injunction, which is a temporary stay order blocking them from selling this new product on their own.Good luck.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).