Is there a legal avenue that can prevent theft of my intellectual property? A property owner who was seeking to lease his property upon learning of my business plan has decided to no longer rent and apparently intends to implement my idea for his own. Regretfully, I did not have a non-disclosure or non-compete agreement. He insisted I inform him of my business intent prior to entering into a lease. As required, I had already informed the city of my plan. He has a relationship with the city employee with whom I spoke with… they refer to each other by their first name. I suspected he may have been informed of my idea by this city zoning person. He hasn't been able to rent this property for years. The city indicated my business plan would pass the Zoning board requirements. I trusted him and stated that this was confidential info. Now he wants nothing to do with me. I am thinking Tortious Interference as related to an informal fiduciary relationship based on trust and confidence.
2 Answers from Attorneys
Well, there is no way to protect a business idea outside of private contract and landlord is not a fiduciary like a lawyer for example. I would not be too hard on yourself as it would never occur to me that the landlord would decide to run with my concept in their space as they are in the business of renting their property, but I guess that can happen.
You are still free to go to market in another location of course.
If you feel I'm missing something or need clarification, I suggest that you consult with a lawyer in private and discuss your objectives in more detail. You can start by calling around to several for a free phone consultation, get some insights then pick the best fit to work with.
If you would like to discuss further over a free phone consult, feel free to contact me anytime that is convenient.
Our firm is now referred by the American Bar Association (see under the New York section): http://www.americanbar.org/groups/delivery_legal_services/resources/programs_to_help_those_with_moderate_income.html
DISCLAIMER: this is not intended to be specific legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. No attorney-client relationship is formed on the basis of this posting.
A fiduciary is someone who has undertaken to act for and on behalf of another in a particular matter in circumstances which give rise to a relationship of trust and confidence. You must have placed your trust in another to act in your best interest to have a fiduciary relationship. However, the situation here is questionable. As he acted on your idea? You say you "suspect" he was informed by another of your plan. Who is the other? Is he legally obligated hold this information as confidential? Why no NDA if you were giving your future landlord confidential information? Has either of the suspects acted on your behalf? Could there be other factors affecting his decision to hire you? Do you have any evictions on your credit record? Without knowing all of the circumstances, it is impossible to answer the question you ask. I suggest you get in touch with a business attorney too discuss your options, if any.
Related Questions & Answers
In Florida, do I need a permit to start a service at my university? Asked 3/25/19, 1:54 pm in United States Florida Business Law
Hi quick question if you're business partner that you have 50/50 in a company with... Asked 3/08/19, 11:30 am in United States Florida Business Law
Can a small business loan application sign in 2003 hold me accountable today? Asked 2/12/19, 10:06 am in United States Florida Business Law