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Corthell v. Summit Thread Co.

167 A. 79 (1933)

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Corthell v. Summit Thread Co.

Maine Supreme Judicial Court

167 A. 79 (1933)

Facts

Robert Corthell (plaintiff) signed a five-year contract with his employer, Summit Thread Company (Summit) (defendant). The contract provided that Summit would increase Corthell’s salary and pay an extra $3,500 to obtain the rights to three devices that Corthell had invented and that Summit could apply to its business. The contract also provided that Corthell would assign to Summit the rights to any other devices he might invent, in return for which Summit promised to provide Corthell with “reasonable recognition.” Summit reserved to itself the right to determine what form that recognition would take. The contract stipulated that it should be interpreted “in good faith on the basis of what is reasonable and intended, and not technically.” Over the next five years, Corthell turned over to Summit the rights to four new inventions, for which Summit paid him nothing, promising only to “fix him up all right” when it came time to renew his contract. At the end of the five years, Summit fired Corthell, and he sued Summit for breach of contract in the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Sturgis, J.)

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