L6_ECE4001_Fall_2009

L6_ECE4001_Fall_2009 - Lecture 6 Legal Issues: Liability,...

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J. Stevenson Kenney © 2008 1 Lecture 6 Legal Issues: Liability, Intellectual Property and IP Litigation September 4, 2008
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J. Stevenson Kenney © 2008 2 Liability Legal Issues Privity Doctrine: US law until 1916 Engineers and manufacturers were responsible only if they were under an explicit contract with their customers
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J. Stevenson Kenney © 2008 3 Doctrine of Negligence Until 1960’s in US, negligent for any of these reasons: The design created a concealed danger Failure to incorporate appropriate safety devices The product was made from inadequate materials Failure to warn user of danger The manufacturer (or engineer) had the responsibility to act in a careful and prudent manner
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J. Stevenson Kenney © 2008 4 Doctrine of Strict Liability Since 1960’s in US, this doctrine puts greater liability on Manufacturers The plaintiff DOES NOT have to prove negligence instead the manufacturer (design engineer) is negligent if: The product was defective and unreasonably dangerous The defect existed at the time of manufacture The defect caused the harm The harm is appropriately assignable to the defect
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J. Stevenson Kenney © 2008 5 Doctrine of Strict Liability Difference between negligence and strict liability: Negligence addresses the behavior of the defendant Strict liability addresses the condition of the product
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J. Stevenson Kenney © 2008 6 Criminal Law vs. Civil Law Criminal Law (Statutory Law): Innocent until proven guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt” Punishment may be fines, incarceration, or worse Civil Law: Defendant is deemed to be at fault by the “preponderance of the evidence” Damages awarded to plaintiff are usually cash Past court decisions guide every new case Casual insurance covers damages awarded to plaintiff Liability Law (Tort Law): A branch of civil law that does not include disputes over contracts and warranties Liability insurance covers damages awarded to plaintiff
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J. Stevenson Kenney © 2008 7 Legal Compensation Compensatory Damages: Compensate the plaintiff for damages they suffered Basis for damages is an accounting issue Punitive Damages: Can be awarded in addition to compensatory damages when juries want to further punish defendants so that they will modify their behavior Basis for damages determined by judge using past precedents
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J. Stevenson Kenney © 2008 8 Liability Litigation • Civil suits – Examples: – Personal injury – Property damage • Companies protect their shareholders and employees against litigation by Incorporating the company – Creating a limited liability company or partnership
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J. Stevenson Kenney © 2008 9 Intellectual Property Patents 3 ½ to 20 years, depending on type Governs “inventions” Copyrights Author’s life + 70 years Books, articles, software Trademarks 28 years and renewable forever Trade Secrets As long a it can be kept a secret Nondisclosure Agreements For term of agreement
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J. Stevenson Kenney © 2008
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L6_ECE4001_Fall_2009 - Lecture 6 Legal Issues: Liability,...

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