Speck v. North Carolina Dairy Foundation

319 S.E.2d 139 (1984)

From our private database of 45,900+ case briefs, written and edited by humans—never with AI.

Speck v. North Carolina Dairy Foundation

North Carolina Supreme Court
319 S.E.2d 139 (1984)

Facts

Marvin Speck and Stanley Gilliand (the professors) (plaintiffs) were professors of Food Science at North Carolina State University (NC State) (defendant). In this capacity, the professors performed research on milk containing lactobacillus acidophilus (LAP), a bacteria that minimizes and eliminates certain unwanted microorganisms, leading to better digestion. The professors’ research reflected an attempt to develop milk containing LAP that was better tasting. The research was conducted at NC State facilities and with resources provided by NC State. The professors were employed by NC State at all times during their research. Although the professors’ contracts did not explicitly mention this research, NC State encouraged it. Eventually, the professors succeeded in creating a new food process. After discussions within the Food Science Department and NC State, the process was licensed to the North Carolina Dairy Foundation, Inc. (the foundation) (defendant), a nonprofit corporation dedicated to funding research that promoted the public good. The foundation had a close relationship with NC State and had been providing funds for various research projects at the university. The professors did not initially object, even showing up at initial meetings of the foundation to discuss the research. The foundation entered into an agreement with two private companies to produce and market the new milk. NC State, not believing the new milk was patentable, considered the new milk a trade secret or trademark. After their requests for royalties were denied, the professors filed suit, alleging that NC State and the foundation owed them a fiduciary duty and breached it by failing to pay them any portion of royalties from the new milk. The professors sought an order imposing a constructive trust on the royalties. A trial court issued summary judgment for the foundation. A court of appeals reversed. The foundation appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Mitchell, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 733,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.

    Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.

    Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee

Here's why 733,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 45,900 briefs, keyed to 984 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Access this case brief for FREE

With a 7-day free trial membership
Here's why 733,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
  • Reliable - written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students
  • The right length and amount of information - includes the facts, issue, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents
  • Access in your class - works on your mobile and tablet
  • 45,900 briefs - keyed to 984 casebooks
  • Uniform format for every case brief
  • Written in plain English - not in legalese and not just repeating the court's language
  • Massive library of related video lessons - and practice questions
  • Top-notch customer support

Access this case brief for FREE

With a 7-day free trial membership