Bug, Inc. is a designing and manufacturing company that sells electronic equipments based in the United States is undergoing several changes due to the demands of the company. The company wants to expand their services to other countries; however, there are risks that may require immediate attention by professionals in the legal department. The company is collaborating and strategically implementing new policies that are critical to the interests of the company.
Legal Protection for BUG, Inc.
Some of the different legal protections that BUG should consider having for its intellectual property are:Paris Convention - This international treaty protects patents and trademarks (Cheeseman, 2007)Berne Convention - This international treaty protects copyrights (Cheeseman, 2007)WIPO Copyright Treaty - This international treaty protects copyrights on computer programs and data compilations.
WIPO Phonogram Treaty - This international treaty gives performers and producers the exclusive right to broadcast, reproduce and distribute copies of their performances.
Act of State Doctrine - A doctrine states that judges of one country cannot question the validity of an act committed by another country within that other country's borders. It is based on the principle that a country has absolute authority over what transpires within its own territory (Cheeseman, 2007).
Arbitration Clause - A clause contained in many international contracts that stipulates any dispute between the parties concerning the performance of the contract will be submitted to an arbitrator or arbitration panel for resolution (Cheeseman, 2007).
Statute of Repose - A statute that limits the seller's liability to a certain number of years from the date when the product was first sold (Cheeseman, 2007)Statute of Limitations - A statute that requires an injured person to bring an action within a certain number of years from the time that he or she was injured by the defective product (Cheeseman, 2007).
BUG vs. WIRETAPSteve is still considered an employee of WIRETAP located in Canada and a competitor to BUG, Inc. Somehow his employment at WIRETAP was overlooked when hired at BUG, Inc. Steve's initial attempt to being hired at BUG was to steal ideas, product and company information and deliver it to WIRETAP.
Steve could be held in contempt with duty of performance, duty of notification, duty of accountability and duty of loyalty. He has committed several crimes, if prosecuted; these serious charges can put Steve away for a very long time. He violated company's security and Electronic Communications Privacy Act.
BUG can also sue WIRETAP for Trademark infringement, Copyright, Patent and Trade Secret if they were to use any of BUG's product or ideas. These are bad business practices an unethical way for doing business anywhere.
BUG, Inc. /Walter and SteveWalter is an independent contractor of Bug's Inc. He has an express and fully disclosed agency contract with them. As security guard his main responsibility is to protect Bug's investment, implement laws on the property and prevent any criminal action by detaining or arresting any criminal violators. His agent duties include duty of performance, duty of notification, duty of accountability and duty of loyalty.
Walter learned Steve still works for the Competitor Wiretap and came to Bug Inc as a new employee with the only purpose of getting the software coding for new Bug product line. Walter knew that stealing intellectual information is a serious crime and thought it was critical to have proof of this crime. Walter decided it to keep Steve hostage for six hours in a small soundproof room. He interrogated him by using inappropriate and unconventional tactics. He made threats to hurt him if he did not say the truth. Although Walter's main concern and intentions were to protect the intellectual property of Bug, Inc., he committed and intentional tort. Intentional torts include such acts as assault, battery, false imprisonment and other intentional conduct that cause injury to another person.
Walter did not notify the principal of Bug's Inc. the information he learned about Steve prior to taking him hostage. He went beyond his responsibilities and tried to resolve the issue by himself. His efforts to protect BUG, Inc. did not justify the negligent acts he got involved with. In this case Bug, Inc. and Walter are liable for Walter's actions because under the common law doctrine of respondent superior, principals are responsible for the negligent conduct of their agents if the negligent conduct of an agent is within the scope of employment.
Courts usually use two tests to determine if an agent committed the intentional tort within the scope of employment. One is the motivation test and the other one is the work-related test. (Cheeseman, 2007) Walter qualifies under both tests basically because the intentional tort was to promote the Bug Inc. business and it was committed within a work-related time and or space.
Steve may be able to use tort law to recover damages from Walter and Bug, Inc. since both are legally responsible or "liable" for those injuries. In general, tort law defines what constitutes a legal injury and established the circumstances under which one person may be held liable for another's injury. Tort law is different from criminal law. In a criminal law case the State would act against the responsible party in lieu of society and not in lieu of the victim. Any fine or sentence would go to the Government and not the victim. Under tort law the suit would ask the court to compensate the victim and any compensation the court would order will be paid to the victim. A crime trial requires proof beyond reasonable doubt where as the tort action only requires proof based on preponderance of evidence. (Duhaime, 2006). Steve may file both a civil and a criminal case against Walter and Bug, Inc.
BUG, Inc. - Internet ConcernsBUG needs advice regarding interstate and international e-commerce. BUG wants to sell its products via the Internet but is concerned about privacy, security, infringement issues, and email contract validity. Another large concern is that a company that buys famous and/or company name domain names seems to own the rights to the domain name BUG.com. BUG has learned that the company is willing to sell the domain name for a high price.
BUG needs to know that e-commerce is critical in today's business world. The days of selling door-to-door are a relic of the past. If BUG wants to be successful, it must understand how e-commerce works and the pros and cons for doing business via the Internet.
The first step in e-commerce business is establishing a domain name. Another company has taken BUG.com, but the company is considering purchasing this domain name. An alternative solution may be using another domain name or another domain extension, like .net or .org, for example, BUGsystems.com, BUG.org or BUG.net. This would allow BUG to move quickly with its e-commerce business without having to negotiate a price for BUG.com. Additionally, the cost of buying BUG.com would undoubtedly be substantially higher than the cost of registering an unused domain name.
As BUG begins to formulate its e-commerce processes, it will need to understand the basic concepts underlying Internet security. Over the past ten years, the Internet and the companies that do business on the Internet have taken great steps to ensure Internet security. Encryption and secure web pages are constantly being re-enforced to deter hackers and other criminals from extracting personal information. Credit card numbers and social security numbers are protected in secure databases that usually require very high-level encryption to crack.
BUG, Inc. - Crimes in Shady Town, U.S.A.
Shady Town, U.S.A. has been plagued with a recent crime wave. The BUG plant in Shady Town has experienced vandalizing of vehicles in its parking lot and some second shift employees have been robbed as they walked to their cars at night. BUG receives shipments of parts and other items from vendors at its receiving/shipping dock located at the rear of each plant. The parking lot and dock areas are well lit; however, some lights are now out. While waiting for the dock manager to return from lunch, a vendor was attacked and robbed of his wallet and the electronic chips he was delivering.
This paper will discuss any tort liability that BUG may have to the vendor and to the BUG employees that were attacked, as well as possible defenses that BUG might utilize in such tort actions. Both the BUG employees and the vendor could potentially file lawsuits against BUG. They could file based on the fact that BUG does not have ample security or proper lighting in its parking lots. They could contest that they would have been safe if BUG had installed additional cameras, extra lighting and provided security guards. The BUG employees may be less likely to file a lawsuit for fear of job-related repercussions, but also would have a strong case.
Potentially, BUG could be responsible for paying both compensatory and punitive damages to the employees as well as the vendor. Both the vendor and the employees could file lawsuits against BUG for endangerment and wrongdoing. Tort liability could also entail loss of wages, psychological treatment as well as any type of rehabilitation from the attacks. BUG could partially offset responsibility for the attacks if it is not the landlord for the property or if it contracts with either an outside security firm or an outside maintenance company. BUG could have utilized video cameras, security guards, additional lighting, or locked doors. BUG may want to implement these measures to deter future litigation and ensure a safe environment for both employees and customers.
Sally DoGood vs. BUG, Inc.
In a product liability suit based on negligence, BUG Inc. could be liable for violating its duty of care for the damages caused by not properly preventing the short circuit incident when insulator were not installed in order to save production costs. In order to win, Sally must show that the "defect" was a commonly known danger and show the injuries caused by the defect.
Under the tort of products liability, when a product causes injury due to a fault in design or manufacture, or a failure to warn or instruct about a danger, the manufacturer may be liable to the injured user. This tort can be based on negligence. This law is called strict liability in tort or, sometimes, strict products liability. Under the doctrine of strict liability, the act of distributing a defective and unreasonably dangerous product that causes harm is enough to allow the injured party to recover damages no matter how much care the manufacturer took. Sally has the right to file a lawsuit to recover compensatory damages as well as punitive damages. Sally must first prove that the tort occurred and must persuade the jury by a preponderance of the evidence. Punitive damages will be awarded to Sally if she can prove reckless disregard by the manufacturer. Sally's claim will be heard and decided by a judge and jury. The judge will decide what the law is and the jury decides what the facts are after hearing all the testimony. If Sally cannot show by a preponderance of the evidence that her injury was the result of a tort committed by BUG Inc., or if Bug Inc. proves the facts necessary to establish a defense to the claim, the jury must find in favor of the defendant (Bug Inc.) A judgment, or verdict, for the defendant means that no money will be awarded to Sally.
In conclusion, BUG has their advantages and disadvantages in accordance with the laws that are not only to protect consumers but the company as well. Whether an incident is considered minor or whatever the case may be a second opinion should be looked into. This is to ensure that all parties involved have their fair share in justice upheld in the legal process in a diplomatic manner. The cooperation of businesses are needed to deliver products and services that will keep the economy going. This will impact future decision making that will work for the interest of the company.
ReferencesCheeseman, Henry R. (2007). The Legal Environment of Business and Online Commerce: Business Ethics, E-Commerce, Regulatory and International Issues, Fifth Edition.
"Tort," MicrosoftÃÂ® EncartaÃÂ® Online Encyclopedia 2008. http://encarta.msn.com 1997-2008 Microsoft Corporation.