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Property Law Outline

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This is an extract of our Property Law document, which we sell as part of our Property Outline collection written by the top tier of UC Berkeley School Of Law students.

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Three Planes Policy Law/Rule Facts

PROPERTY IN GENERAL I. Five Theories I. Protect first possession a. First come, first serve II. Encourage/Reward Labor a. Acquisition through labor III. Societal Happiness/Utilitarian Approach a. Maximize societal wealth IV. Ensure Democracy V. Personal Development II. Occupancy/Possession

1. Deprivation of natural liberty

2. Unequivocal intention of appropriation

3. Control a. Examples: i. Pierson v. Post

1. Pierson had intention of appropriation but didn't deprive of natural liberty or have full control, therefore Post gets fox

2. Where an actor undertakes significant but incomplete steps to achieve possession of a piece of abandoned property and the effort is interrupted by the unlawful acts of others, the actor has a legally cognizable prepossessory interest ii. Poppov v. Hayashi

1. Pre-possessory interests

2. Conversion is the wrongful possession of personal property rightfully owned or possessed by another.

1 III. Common Law Rights to Publicity

1. Defendants use of plaintiff's identity

2. Appropriation of plaintiff's name or likeness to defendants advantage commercially or otherwise a. White v. Samsung i. Viewed all facts together amounted to likeness

1. Wig

2. Wheel board

3. Dress

3. Lack of consent

4. Resulting injury

WHAT IS PROPERTY??Not a thing just an interest Changes over time Chain of title: think of each owner as a different link I. Bundle of Sticks
? Right to transfer
? Right to exclude
? Right to use
? Right to Destroy II. Limits on Property Rights
? Defined by government
? Not absolute- can generally transfer but there are limitations o Exceptions
? Moore v. Regents
? Public policy: don't want to discourage scientific research
? Can't sell parts that don't regenerate
? Can be divided
? Evolves as law changes III. Right to Exclude- Very Important Stick I. Property right serve human values so human rights come before property rights a. Employer can require visitor to ID self or state purpose i. BUT can't deny access if employee lives there

1. Representatives from government agencies may enter premises

2. But competitors can be denied access 2

ii. Example: State v. Shack

1. Migrant workers can have social workers aid and labor lawyer visit on owner/employer's land IV. Right to Use I. Spite Fence a. Prohibited when: i. Serve no useful purpose ii. Causes injury to neighbors and constructed with malicious intent b. Example: i. Sundowner v. Kim

1. Can't erect sign for sole purpose of injuring neighbor

2. Grant advertisement sign was a spite fence ii. Vanderpool v. Starr

1. Rows of trees can be a spite fence

2. Unable to prove it prevent plaintiff use and enjoyment II. Private Nuisance a. Intentional b. Non-trespassory c. Unreasonable d. Substantial interference e. Use and enjoyment of plaintiff's land VI. Right to Destroy a. A well ordered society cannot tolerate the waste and destruction of resources when such acts directly affect important interests of other members of society b. If the person is dead, they must have stated a reason i. Eyerman v. Merchantile Trust

1. Didn't put reason why home in historical area

2. Shouldn't be destroyed would devalue other homes in area


Policy Reasons a. Efficiency- prevents frivolous claims

3 b. Correcting title defects c. Encouraging development i. Promotes productive use of land d. Protecting personhood II. Clear and Convincing Evidence a. The standard of proof in most jurisdictions for Adverse Possession is clear and convincing evidence III. Five Elements Note: All elements must exist for the entirety of the statutory period a. Actual Possession i. Color of title

1. Invalid written instrument, defective deed

2. With a color of title you get the entirety of the land not just the part that you cultivated, which is what you would get if you had no title or fake title, etc.

3. Physically occupy some portion of the land b. Exclusive Possession i. Exclusive dominion and control ii. Reasonable owner standard

1. Did the adverse possessor use land as the true owner would have c. Open and Notorious i. If the true owner had inspected would it have revealed the possessor on the property ii. "Hung the flag for all to see" d. Adverse and Hostile---no permission i. Vanvalkenberg v. Lutz

1. Filed for easement had permission to use the land, admitted he wasn't the rightful owner ii. 3 Types

1. Bad faith a. Know it isn't yours and act as it is

2. Good faith a. Genuinely think you have a claim, but are mistaken

3. Objective a. If objective look at the other elements because mindset doesn't really matter b. Majority rule e. Continuous i. All elements (a-d) must be continuous ii. Tacking and privity

1. Tacking requires privity 4

2. If the adverse possession of the successive occupants are in privity

3. Privity a. Established by showing special relationship between consecutive owners by transferring of deed or title or color of title iii. Example:

1. Howard v. Kunto a. Summer occupancy rule, requires such possession as an ordinary owner would use Tolling the Statute of Limitations a. Minor b. Mentally incapable from the start of possession i. Nielsen v. Gibson

1. Court couldn't prove Nielsen was insane at time adverse possession started so defendant gets quiet title c. Active duty i. Statutory based not always there INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY I. Rationale a. US Constitution Article I Section 8 i. Promote progress of science and useful arts by securing for limited time to authors and inventors the exclusive rights to their respective writings and discoveries b. Governed by federal law c. Exceptions are: i. Right of publicity ii. Trade secrets II. Copyright a. Applicable for: i. Original work of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression

1. Books

2. Computer games

3. Plays

4. Sculptures b. Copyright Requirements i. Originality (low threshold)

1. Requires more than a "de minims quantum of creativity." ii. Work of authorship 5

iii. Fixation iv. DON'T have to:

1. Register

2. Give notice c. Length of time: Author's life + 70 years d. Feist v. Rural (Phone Book Case) i. Can't copyright facts but original organization is ii. Court found adding fake names was not original iii. Minimum degrees of creativity required e. Exceptions: i. Fair use doctrine- can use for academia, criticism, and comment or reporting

1. Purpose and character of use

2. Nature of copy written work

3. Amount a. How much of the whole did you copyright?

4. Effect of use on the market for the copy written work III. Patent a. Protects new inventions, cell lines, machines, medicines b. Exists to serve the utilitarian goal c. Elements: i. Patentable subject matter

1. Process, machine, composition, manufacture ii. Utility

1. Actual benefit to humans iii. Novelty iv. Non-obviousness v. Enablement IV. Trademark a. Protects words, names, and other symbols which are used by merchants to distinguish their goods and services b. Elements: i. Distinctiveness ii. Non-functionality iii. First use in trade WASTE I. Definition a. Duty on a life tenant to use the property in a manner that does not significantly injure the rights of future interest holders II. Common Law a. No substantial alteration 6


Modern View a. Substantial alteration permitted if it does not result in decrease the property's value i. Woodrick v. Wood

1. Removal of barn wouldn't decrease the land's value so permitted

ESTATES I. Estates Defined a. A temporal slice of ownership rights in relation to a parcel of land b. Think of estates along a timeline i. Who can use now?
ii. Who can use later?
II. Ways to Transfer a. Deed i. Verb: conveys, grants ii. Transferor: grantor iii. Receiver: grantee iv. Speaks upon delivery b. Will i. Verb: devises ii. Transferor: testator, testatrix iii. Receiver: Devisee iv. Speaks upon death c. Intestate Succession i. Verb: descend ii. Recipient: heirs (can't exists until death) III. Modern Freehold Estates a. Fee Simple Absolute i. All rights in the bundle ii. Duration is indefinite iii. Freely: alienable, devisable, descendible iv. Ambiguity: found in favor of the most marketable estate? fee simple v. Substitute "to heirs" with in fee simple b. Fee Simple Determinable i. Automatically ends when a certain event or condition is breached or occurs giving the right of possession to transferor ii. Words of duration: so long as, while, during, until by filing a lawsuit or quiet title iii. Freely: alienable, devisable, descendible iv. Future interest in grantor: possibility of reverter (grantor)


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