Kyle Wilson had a great idea for a cereal breakfast bar. So he submitted to Kellogg Co.’s "G-r-reat Ideas” portal. When Kellogg used the idea without paying him, Wilson sued. Kellogg’s portal allowed submissions of ideas. But the terms and conditions said that Kellogg wasn’t obligated to pay for a submitted idea; even if Kellogg decided to use it. Wilson lost his suit against Kellogg. The court held that Kellogg’s terms and conditions clearly warned idea givers, like Wilson.

WHY YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS. Kellogg taught Wilson, and us, a valuable lesson about idea submissions. Idea submissions are all about expectations. The idea giver usually wants something in return from the idea receiver. The idea receiver is not always ready, willing or able to fulfill the idea giver’s expectations. Hollywood sees this all the time. That’s why no one in Hollywood accepts unsolicited treatments or scripts. The best for both sides is what Kellogg did. It invited idea submissions. But, the idea submission portal made it clear that Kellogg would not be obligated to pay for the idea. This managed expectations on both sides.