Case Study: Frederick is a student at Central Fictional State University (CFSU), and he has a great idea for a new business invention. Frederick’s invention and the business that he plans to found based on it will absolutely revolutionize the market and will make him very rich. He decides to share his idea with a few trusted professors, and he even uses the idea in a research project for one of his classes.
While Frederick is at home over summer break, he discovers, much to his dismay, that his professors have stolen his idea and have opened a business marketing his new invention. Frederick immediately seeks the advice of the local lawyer who has a reputation for being a “scorched-earth” litigator. He advises Frederick that he should sue “those professors for everything they’ve got.” Frederick, however, is not sure if he should file an aggressive lawsuit, or if there is a better way to proceed.
Frederick knows that your business recently completed mediation to settle a lawsuit filed by one of your suppliers. He comes to you for advice on how to proceed. What is your answer to Frederick? In your response, consider whether the decision to file suit or to proceed through some form of alternative dispute resolution is affected by the previous relationship with the professors (can/should you sue a friend, how will the decision impact an ongoing relationship, etc.). Also, what role could Frederick’s faith play in his decision?