Theory to Practice
Big Time Toymaker (BTT) develops, manufactures, and distributes board games and other toys to the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Chou is the inventor of a new strategy game he named Strat. BTT was interested in distributing Strat and entered into an agreement with Chou whereby BTT paid him $25,000 in exchange for exclusive negotiation rights for a 90-day period. The exclusive negotiation agreement stipulated that no distribution contract existed unless it was in writing. Just three days before the expiration of the 90-day period, the parties reached an oral distribution agreement at a meeting. Chou offered to draft the contract that would memorialize their agreement. Before Chou drafted the agreement, a BTT manager sent Chou an e-mail with the subject line “Strat Deal” that repeated the key terms of the distribution agreement including price, time frames, and obligations of both parties. Although the e-mail never used the word contract, it stated that all of the terms had been agreed upon. Chou believed that this e-mail was meant to replace the earlier notion that he should draft a contract, and one month passed. BTT then sent Chou a fax requesting that he send a draft for a distribution agreement contract. Despite the fact that Chou did so immediately after receiving the BTT fax, several more months passed without response from BTT. BTT had a change in management and informed Chou they were not interested in distributing Strat.
1. At what point, if ever, did the parties have a contract?
The parties did have a contract, once the manager at Big Time Toymaker (BTT) sent the e-mail to Chou that repeated key terms of the distribution agreement that included pricing, time frames and the obligations of both parties. Chou believed that the e-mail sent that was titled “Strat Deal” was to replace the draft contract. The contract was solidified with the e-mail sent to Chou that gives him a set of promises and is enforceable.
2. What facts may...