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Assignment Questions

Essay on Civil Liability

BUG, Inc. Paper

BUG, Inc., a company based in Any State, U.S.A., designs, manufactures, and sells electronic recording devices. These devices are used by law enforcement agencies (police, FBI, etc.) to intercept and record sounds and voices. The equipment taps into telephone wires, cell phone transmissions, and picks up sounds and voices through the walls of a house or in open-air locations through the use of a remote microphone. Part of the equipment is driven by software written by BUG employees. BUG has exclusive contracts with most state and federal law enforcement agencies throughout the United States. BUG is thinking about expanding its sales to international markets. Currently, half of its manufacturing plants are in foreign countries and half are in the U.S. The company?s logo is a ladybug wearing a set of headphones.

Write a 700-1,400-word paper answering the following questions:

a. Define the different type(s) of legal protections BUG should have for its intellectual property. Explain why these protections are necessary.

b. Earlier this year, WIRETAP, Inc., a relatively new company trying to compete with BUG, sent one of its employees, Steve, to BUG to get a job. BUG, not realizing Steve was an employee of WIRETAP, hired him to work in its research and development department located in Any State, U.S.A. While working at BUG, Steve forwarded any BUG e-mail he received to WIRETAP. This included e-mail between BUG officers (both domestic and abroad) that Steve intercepted using his hacking ability. At the end of each week, Steve met with his boss at WIRETAP and gave him all the information he obtained about the BUG product lines. Discuss in detail what type(s), if any, of civil liability Steve and/or WIRETAP may face if caught.

c. [See situation b. for background information.] Walter, a security guard for BUG, learns that Steve really works for WIRETAP. Walter takes Steve to a small soundproof room where he keeps him for six hours. During this time, Walter continues to ask Steve what he is doing at BUG and what information he has given to WIRETAP. Walter tells Steve that he will hurt him if he does not tell him everything. Steve finally tells Walter what he wants to know. Walter then lets Steve go home. Has Walter committed any torts? If so, explain. Discuss any liability BUG may have for Walter?s actions.

d. BUG has come to you for advice regarding interstate and international e-commerce. BUG wants to sell its products via the Internet. BUG is concerned about privacy, security, infringement issues, and email contract validity. BUG is also concerned because a company that buys famous and/or company name domain names seems to own the rights to the domain name BUG.com. The company is willing to sell the domain name for a high price. Advise BUG on all e-commerce issues that could possibly affect the company. Be detailed in your response.

e. Shady Town, U.S.A. has been plagued with a recent crime wave. The BUG plant in Shady Town has experienced vandalized 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. Discuss what, if any, tort liability BUG may have to the vendor and to the BUG employees that were attacked. What defenses may be available to BUG? Explain your answers.

f. [See situations b. and c. for background information.] The attorneys for BUG have completed their investigation of WIRETAP and its employee, Steve. If they want to bring a successful action against WIRETAP for civil RICO, what do they need to prove? What type(s) of damages could BUG receive?

g. Sally DoGood, a police officer in Shady Town, was sitting in a police van monitoring wiretaps placed in the Crime Boss hideout. The equipment she was using, which was an older model purchased from BUG, short-circuited and injured Sally. An insulator that could have prevented the possibility of shorts was not included in the original design because of its effect on production costs. The newer models, not yet purchased by the Shady Town Police, have the insulator installed. What tort(s) may Sally have for a successful case against BUG? Explain your answer(s).

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