Procedural Posture

Procedural Posture

Appellant inventor filed a complaint for breach of contract in the Superior Court of Los Angeles County (California) against appellee merchandisers. The trial judge entered a judgment of nonsuit decreeing that there was no contract. The inventor appealed, alleging that a contract was formed upon a series of correspondence and further, that proof of the merchandisers’ conduct recognizing the existence of a contract was improperly refused.

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In an inventor’s action for breach of contract, the court concluded that no reasonable construction of the evidence established a binding contract between the parties, and the correspondence between the parties amounted to nothing more than preliminary written discussions of various plans directed toward evolving a practical program to produce, merchandise, and market the inventor’s invention. The parties merely contemplated subsequently working out the terms of the plan and eventually reducing it to writing. Nothing in the record evidenced a meeting of the minds of the parties on any of the terms. No definite proposal resulted from the various written discussions and suggestions, and no binding contract ever came into existence. The refusal of the inventor’s offer of proof of the merchandisers’ conduct as recognizing the existence of a contract was proper, as it showed no more than preliminary discussions by the parties to formulate a future production plan.


The court affirmed the judgment of the trial court in favor of the merchandisers, as it had properly found that no written contract existed.