Wrench Llc v. Taco Bell Corp. - United States Court of Appeals Tenth Circuit

Wrench Llc v. Taco Bell Corp.

By United States Court of Appeals Tenth Circuit

  • Release Date: 2001-07-06
  • Genre: Law
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Wrench Llc v. Taco Bell Corp. United States Court of Appeals Tenth Circuit Book Review Score: ★★★★★ 5/5 stars

This case raises a question of first impression in this circuit regarding the extent to which the Copyright Act preempts state law claims based on breach of an implied-in-fact contract. Plaintiffs-Appellants Wrench LLC, Joseph Shields, and Thomas Rinks brought this diversity action against Defendant-Appellee Taco Bell Corporation ("Taco Bell"), claiming breach of implied contract and various torts related to Taco Bells alleged use of appellants ideas. In three separate opinions, the district court found that the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 301, preempted all of appellants claims, including those based on breach of an implied-in-fact contract. On that basis, as well as on the alternate ground that appellants concept lacked the novelty necessary to sustain their claims, the district court granted summary judgment to Taco Bell. Appellants now appeal the district courts grant of summary judgment, and argue the following: (1) that the district court erred in its preemption analysis under both the "subject matter" and "equivalency" prongs of 17 U.S.C. § 301(a); and, (2) that the district court erred in holding that novelty was required to sustain their implied-in-fact contract claim, and further that their ideas and concepts lacked novelty as a matter of law. For the reasons that follow, we REVERSE the judgment of the district court and remand this case for further proceedings.

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