can a research assist ant "BORROW" a Professor's Ideas?

SHORT ANSWER: Yes, according to the

Seventh Circuit decision in Ho v. Taflove.

The Backstory: Professor Ho devised a theory about electron behavior. Professor Ho's research assistant changed jobs, failed to return one of Professor Ho's notebooks, and began working for A rival, Professor Taflove. Eventually, Professor Taflove published information from the missing lab notebook in a symposium paper and did not attribute any of the material to Professor Ho. Professor Ho sued for copyright infringement, fraud, trade secret theft and conversion.
Stealing Ideas is Okay? Copyright doesn't protect ideas, so Professor Ho's ideas about electron behavior were free for anyone to use -- just as anyone can freely write about about Einstein's theory of relativity, the use of mixed strategy game theory in college football, or modeling logic in 5-Card Stud. When ideas can only be expressed in a limited number of ways, those limited expressions are also not protectible under a copyright principle known as the merger doctrine. There was no trade secret theft because portions of Professor Ho's work had previously been published in a master's thesis. All other state claims were preempted by the copyright claim.

Nikola Tesla avoided theft of many of his ideas by giving them to the public

Takeaway points. Trade secrets and contract law would have been the only way for Professor Ho to preserve his claims against his rival. As the Seventh Circuit stated, Professor Ho failed to Keep the material secret, something he might have accomplished by delaying publication of his model (until the Professor found the right publication) and by binding assistants with an effective nondisclosure agreement (here's an example).

SAYRE'S L Politics aAW: Academic because tre so bitter so small he stakes are .

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