According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Immanuel Kant believed that "good will" is the only unqualified good thing. The Encyclopedia explains that "In Kant’s terms, a good will is a will whose decisions are wholly determined by moral demands or, as he often refers to this, by the Moral Law".
The California Business & Professions Code provides a far simpler, albeit fundamentally different, definition of good will: "The 'good will' of a business is the expectation of continued public patronage." Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 14100. The Code then provides three simple rules concerning good will:
- The good will of a business does not include a right to use the name of any person from whom the business was acquired.
- The good will of a business is property and is transferable.
- The person transferring the good will of a business may transfer with it the right of using the name under which the business is conducted.