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Jako v. Pilling Co.

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
848 F.2d 318 (1988)


In 1963, Dr. Geza Jako (plaintiff), a physician and professor of otolaryngology, entered into a collaboration with Pilling Company (Pilling) (defendant), a manufacturer of medical equipment. Under the collaboration, Dr. Jako made design recommendations for laryngoscopes and other equipment used in larynx microsurgery. The equipment was labeled with Dr. Jako’s name according to industry practice, and Dr. Jako’s career benefited from the resulting name recognition. However, Dr. Jako did not hold a patent for the equipment, and had no express contract for payment for the instrument designs. Dr. Jako subsequently brought suit against Pilling, demanding royalties for instruments sold within the prior 15 years and making claims based on breach of contract and unjust enrichment. Dr. Jako testified that when he began collaboration, he did not think a physician receiving money for ideas was proper, and sought only to benefit humanity by improving medical equipment. The district court held that there was no express or implied contract and no unjust enrichment. The district court granted summary judgment to Pilling on those claims. Dr. Jako appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Torruella, J.)

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