Mathis, Inc. is a designer and manufacturer of women’s clothing and specializes in high-end women’s winter fashions. Normandale, a retailer, sells high-end products in malls throughout the country. With Mathis’s high costs, Normandale is unable to make a profit from the sale of Mathis’s products.
Countess Lori-Ann (CLA) is a Mathis competitor. Normandale sends photographs and samples of the Mathis line to CLA and instructs them to make an identical line at a lower price. Mathis labels are easily discernable in the photographs and the samples have the Mathis label attached. CLA copies the Mathis line for Normandale.
CLA sells the clothing to Normandale at a low price allowing Normandale to sell the products for a total gross profit of nearly $3 million, an increase of nearly 50% over its sale of Mathis products. Mathis discovers that Normandale is selling counterfeit products, and sends several cease-and-desist letters to them—to no avail. Mathis then sues Normandale alleging Normandale has engaged in illegal conduct. Normandale counters that it did nothing wrong.
Research business law in regard to protection of intellectual property using your textbook, the Argosy University online library resources, and the Internet. Based on the facts of the case and research, write an analytical paper. In the paper, respond to the following questions:
• Was it ethical for Normandale to sell the alleged knock-off products at a lower price? Explain.
• What federal or state laws protect owners of intellectual property? How do they apply here? Explain.
• What damages, if any, has Mathis suffered because of Normandale’s conduct? Explain.
• What are the differing views on the social responsibility of corporations like Normandale?
• What ethical code could Normandale implement to prevent similar incidents in the future?
• Do the owners of Normandale have personal liability to Mathis for damages? Explain.
• Do the owners of Normandale have personal criminal liability for their conduct and that of the business? Explain.
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