Inventor sues Disney for FastPass

Posted Monday, November 1, 2004 9:27 AM | Contributed by kevin38

A Tennessee inventor is suing the Walt Disney Co. claiming the company stole his idea for the FastPass ride reservation system. He says that he suggested the system to them in a letter to the park a decade ago.

Read more from WKMG/Orlando.

Monday, November 1, 2004 9:35 AM
Disney stole my idea of selling Turkey Legs in the park! Oh yeah that Epcot place. All me!! :>)

Monday, November 1, 2004 9:40 AM
The Mole's avatar a.) It was a decade ago.b.) Universal had such a system for many years in hollywood for yeare before Disney.c.) No efforts to copyright or trademark the idead.) No proff that the ideas were even considered by Disneye.) No meetings between him and Disney, like with Wide World of Sports, to show they had an idea.This reminds me of the lawsuit against Disney by a woman who claimed to have a brick fall on her foot off othe Cinderella's Castle. The funny thing is that Cinderella's castly dosn't have a single brick on it, it's all steel.

If you think about it, anyone who has written an idea to Disney based on any attraction designs could sue. Write them about a free fall ride? Sue! Simulated space ride? Sue!
*** This post was edited by The Mole 11/1/2004 9:41:22 AM ***

Monday, November 1, 2004 9:46 AM
This one is simple. You send an unsolicited letter, without obtaining either patent protection or a non-disclosure/compete agreement, you lose. In effect, you are giving your idea away. Intellectual Property 101.

I vaguely recall reading somewhere (perhaps on the Imgaineering pages) seeing a disclaimer that WDI doesn't even read unsolicited attraction ideas, to avoid this very problem.

Monday, November 1, 2004 10:18 AM

Do *you* work in IP? Do you *know* what you are saying is true (the IP 101 bit). Patent laws in the US are much more nuanced than that. I'm not saying that this particular has/does not have merit (by regulation, I cannot), but there have been more bizzare cases.

lata, jeremy

Monday, November 1, 2004 10:53 AM
Jeff's avatar There are always exception, but what he's saying is more often than not correct. All of the free advice you get from patent lawyers reads exactly like that.
Monday, November 1, 2004 10:55 AM
janfrederick's avatar Ooh ooh! Yah think Disney will get flustered and drop the system? ;)
Monday, November 1, 2004 11:22 AM
In other news, Johnny Line is suing every theme park in america for stealing his idea.
Monday, November 1, 2004 11:49 AM
I've filed three patent applications, and am a party to perhaps a dozen non-disclosure agreements over the course of my career. So while I'm not a lawyer, I do know something about this. And the something I know is that if you disclose an invention without proper protection, you deserve what you get, which is generally nothing.

Edit: of course, there are exceptions, but they make the rule.

*** This post was edited by Brian Noble 11/1/2004 11:54:53 AM ***

Monday, November 1, 2004 12:14 PM
The Mole: you have a point.
hmmmm, I've got an ex-wife Named Sue, like, Superman Ultimate Escape, aka Sue... Should Sue sue?
disclaimer: the above line makes no referance to a Phil Collins song and should not be taken as such, ie, please don't Sue-sue-sue-me-uh
Monday, November 1, 2004 1:03 PM
HEY! When I was 19 I had BUZZ on COASTER!!!!!

JEFF!!!! My Lawyer will be calling your Lawyer!

Monday, November 1, 2004 2:51 PM
If I recall, Jeremy does work in IP. My only qualification is a course I took on IP while getting my MBA many years ago. Sounds like a ridiculously weak case to me though. Actually, I would have to wonder about the validity of Disney's patent unless it covers some very specific claims.

But then who knows, we are living in a world where what I'm typing now is copyrighted even though I've posted not copyright notice. What I don't know is if the copyright belongs to me or to Jeff. And if it belongs to me can I sue Jeff since this is appearing on his bulletion board? ;)*** This post was edited by Jim Fisher 11/1/2004 2:55:16 PM ***

Monday, November 1, 2004 2:56 PM
Sawblade5's avatar That is crazy but if they are successful. I'll be suing WOF for my Spinning Mouse coaster idea, and I'll be suing for stealing my ideas for posting fake news and rumors.
Monday, November 1, 2004 4:34 PM
Wow everyone hates disney. Yay! i do too
Monday, November 1, 2004 6:56 PM
no... this suit has nothing to do with love or hate for Disney... it is because of 1 simple thing... Disney has money.
Monday, November 1, 2004 8:12 PM
MOLE: "Simulated space ride? Sue!" lol funney you should say that Actually... IOA/ US went to the designers with this idea... The company said they could do it! Then the deadline came and passed and they couldn't come up with a concept to simulate the lanch... SO IOA/US droped the contract. Then a few months later.. the company dicovered a way to do it and sold it to Disney! (heard this from the IOA VIP tour guides)

Well if IOA builds a 600 ft coaster, I will sue them because I had a dream about it while on deployment, this summer!!! But am going to do it 20 years after it gets built!!!

I mean come on this is complete B.S.

Look at this "Four years ago, a jury awarded two businessmen $240 million ruling that Disney stole the idea for their Wide World of Sports complex."

This is real Enticing for anyone! I mean who doesn't want to sue if you can get 240 million!*** This post was edited by Earnhardt2 11/1/2004 8:22:25 PM ***

Monday, November 1, 2004 8:54 PM
Can he produce either the letter he sent to Disney offering his idea, and their alleged return letter saying the idea wouldn't work? Come to think of it, I vaguely remember receiving letters from dozens, no hundreds, of corporations.
Monday, November 1, 2004 10:24 PM
I'm no lawyer, but if he's got the letter, and if all the people who were responsible for reading and responding to the suggestion still worked at Disney at the time disney implemented fastpass, and their fastpass technology wasn't purchased from an outside company, I'd say he's got a case.

But like others just mentioned here, other park(s) were doing their own pass technologies before Disney, and I was under the assumption that an outside company developed the technology. Wasn't it introduced at an IAAPA convention? (or whatever all those letters are, LOL)

Monday, November 1, 2004 11:17 PM
I'm not an IP lawyer, but I recall that in order to have the legal rights to an invention you have to meet certain legal requirements as I recall:

1) The idea has to be original. You have to show that someone didn't invent it before you. If other parks were using it before you don't meet this criteria.

2) The idea can't be obvious. This one might be considered obvious.

3) You have to pursue the development of the idea. You can't just get and idea and then forget about it. You have to show that you continued to develop the idea.

4) You have to file for a patent.

It seems to me that this man met none of these criteria.

Note that protection criteria for copyrights and trade marks are different.

Tuesday, November 2, 2004 10:09 AM
I'd like the patent on a 500ft coaster please.

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