The first thing I would counsel Frederick to do is pray about it is he has not already done so. I would also be willing to pray with him at that moment if he allowed me to do so. In any situation as Christians, we should ask for wisdom as it is written in James 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” Then I would encourage him to go to the professor(s) not in a confrontational way, but as a means to understand and to gain information regarding the startup of their new business. Perhaps after proving it was indeed his original idea with the documentation and date of his class research project that the professors’ are capitalizing on, it would give them opportunity to make amends and provide compensation to Frederick. Then if he was met hostility, I would advise Frederick to appeal to the CFSU Dean of Students with his case or register a grievance with the professors As we have read in our text, most businesses have a code of conduct established, if not a code of ethics. His professors are under the authority of the university and subject to such a code. One would hope that given it’s a university, infringement on intellectual property should be addressed there and consequences or course of action explained. I know LU has a code of honor as a Christian university and has a higher standard than most public universities.
So, I did some research. I found that found that the University of Mary Washington, a liberal arts institution’s employee handbook does indeed define and address intellectual property including that of staff, students and visitors. They define it to be “any property to which the owner holds a patent or copyright or which may be considered to be patentable or copyrightable.” ( University of Mary Washington Faculty Handbook Section 4.4.2 ) They go on to state that this includes inventions with the exception of inventions developed as a part of a University assignment. I would advise Frederick to file suit only after pursuing justice within the confines of the university first.
I would encourage him to examine his heart to make sure he was seeking justice and not vengeance; to trust the Lord. As God gave him the idea in the first place, God can certainly give him another, better one. The real task for Frederick I s to be faithful in following the hierarchy of authority and not allowing bitterness, if he should lose the case, cripple his trust in God and man.
References The Holy Bible, New King James Version 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. Bible Gateway. Web. Oct. 28, 2013. University of Mary Washington, Faculty Handbook: Intellectual Property Section 4.4.2. Retrieved from http://adminfinance.umw.edu/hr/handbooks/umw-employee-handbook-for-ap-faculty-classified-and-wage-employees-2/general-employment-information/intellectual-properties/