Seidman, J.c.c. (temporarily assigned).
Plaintiff, a retired dental technician, claiming that defendant Ronson Corporation wrongfully appropriated a new product idea for an artificial candle he had conceived and submitted, seeks damages for breach of an express or implied contract and by reason of the alleged resultant unjust enrichment of defendant. Since the trial, limited to the issue of liability, was without a jury, it is now necessary for the court to state its findings of facts and conclusions of law thereon. R. 1:7-4.
The lawsuit is the outgrowth of an admitted exchange of correspondence between the parties beginning March 7, 1955, when plaintiff, who testified he had not seen the concept elsewhere, sent the following letter to defendant:
I am writing you in reference to an idea I have for a metal product.
As far as I am able to determine it has never appeared on the market.
It is both useful and ornamental.
It is an item which could be used in every household.
If you would like me to submit same to you, please advise.
Receipt of the letter was acknowledged by Ronson's assistant to the president, who informed Flemming that it had been forwarded to the research and development department at their Stroudsburg, Pa., plant. Warren I. Nissen, a Ronson research and product engineer, replied on March 12, 1955:
Thank you for your letter of March 7, 1955. We are always pleased to receive suggestions and ideas for new products or improvements of our products.
If you care to forward drawings, descriptions and/or working models, we will be most glad to evaluate same and report to you regarding our further interest. Please be assured that all materials
submitted will be carefully handled and returned to you if we should not ...