The four elements to a contract are the agreement, the consideration, contractual capacity, and a legal object. The oral agreement between Sam and the chain store satisfies the agreement element of a contract definition because when the chain store offered to sell Sam 's invention at their stores, Sam accepted by agreeing to ship 1000 units in exchange. The second element of a contract, the consideration of each party, is satisfied because Sam and the chain store have something to give the other (1000 units of the invention in exchange for the exclusive sales of the product at their stores). The third element is contractual capacity, which may or may not be fulfilled since we don 't know Sam 's age or if during negotiations Sam was either intoxicated or suffered from a mental illness. However, the fourth element which is "legal object," may not be satisfied between Sam and the chain store because there was nothing in writing, it was an oral promise (that would make the contract invalid). However, if the chain store has written proof confirming Sam 's promise, for example advertisements, invoices that the store only prepares in the regular course of business after an oral promise for a product delivery has been made, a court may consider Sam 's oral promise legally binding. Then it would be considered a "Primary obligation" (since there was a debt incurred in anticipation of the sale of his invention at their stores). In that event, the contract does not need to be in writing to be enforced since primary obligations are not within the statute of frauds. So if the chain store does not get their 1000 units, they may be able to sue Sam.
Even if there is not a valid legal contract between Sam and the c...
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...here was no business transaction to qualify his invention as a business. However, since Sam as a tenant has a duty to not commit waste, the noise that his invention caused may be enough grounds for the landlord to evict him.
One defense Sam might raise if his landlord tries to evict him is to say that the landlord was aware that he had an invention that he was working on but Sam may need to prove that the landlord knew that it was a noisy invention (“material terms” need to be expressed in the lease). Sam can also use a defense as I explained before about the units not yet being shipped therefore no business transaction has occurred. In either case, he doesn’t have much chance to win because a landlord can evict without having any reason at all.
Nancy Kubasek, M. Neil Browne, Andrea Giampetro-Meyer, Linda Barkacs, Dan Herron (2011). Dynamic Business Law/Edition 2.
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