There it is again, the same old problem of who owns the idea. And how to sell it. And why, in most cases, you can’t easily sell an idea. Ideas are too hard to protect. Today’s example comes from celebrity business, Kate Hudson getting sued for stealing product information.

A cosmetics company named 220 Laboratories says it developed a product for Hudson and hairstyle product guy David Babaii, who then stiffed the company and released the product, but without 220 Laboratories.

This is from BusinessPundit:

According to the legal documents, 220 Labs had researched and developed a product for Babaii over a period of about nine months, based on an oral contract. During this time, 220 Labs developed at least 10 custom products for Babaii, for which they sent him samples. They also sent Babaii ingredients lists, ingredients stories, pricing information, marketing ideas and promotional footage.

Almost a year after Babaii and 220 Labs had entered into their relationship, a 220 Labs competitor called Universal requested volcanic ash samples from the company, purportedly for a hair-care line. 220 Labs sent them the samples.

Babaii then released the product, called David Babaii for WildAid–featuring pictures of an earthy-looking Kate Hudson cavorting with baby wildcats–without giving 220 Labs the kickback it felt it deserved. Thus, the lawsuit.

If it’s true, it’s bad news and bad business; but it happens all the time. And maybe in this case 220 Labs gets satisfaction, perhaps because its chances are enhanced by all the visibility.

I’d like to write “What were they thinking?” . . . in giving away the whole idea without getting the deal in writing first. But that would be the pot calling the kettle black. I’ve made the same mistake myself–or at least a very similar one. I posted on that here.

What to do? First, get it in writing. Second, don’t share the information until the deal is done.

And, by the way, I’ve posted a video (actually a slide presentation) about ownership of ideas.

And thanks to BusinessPundit.com for the timely and thoughtful post on this, with a lot more details. Here’s the link: Kate Hudson Gets Sued for Stealing Product Information. Does She Have a Case? | Business Pundit

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Tim BerryTim Berry
Tim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Bplans.com. Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.