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Chapter 8 — Crimes

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            1.            Conduct that may be a misdemeanor in one state may be a felony in another state. 


            2.            A required element for a crime is that the criminal party voluntarily commits the prohibited act (think “gun to head”).


            3.            A person cannot commit a crime if the person does not know that his or her conduct is criminal (think “Honduran bony fish or short lobster).


            4.            The Fourth Amendment prohibits ALL government searches of businesses.


            5.            Traditionally, extortion involves wrongful demands made by public officials.


            6.            A company cannot be found guilty of a crime that is committed by its agent.


            7.            If an employee wrongfully keeps money that was entrusted to the employee by his or employer, the employee has committed the crime of embezzlement.


            8.            Government officers do not need a search warrant in order to inspect property that is in “plain view”.


            9.            The Constitution guarantees individuals the right to a speedy trial in criminal cases.


            10.            The Digital Millennium Copyright Act allows a person to thwart encryption devices that copy right holders place on copyrighted material if the person has purchased the copyrighted item in question.





Chapter  9 — Torts


            11.            One wrongful act may be both a crime and a tort.


            12.            A person is not entitled to recover for EVERY injury or loss that is caused by another person.


            13.            In general, tort liability will not be imposed for an involuntary act even if the act harms another.


            14.            Under tort law, one owes a duty to society to conform his or her conduct to a required standard (think: does society sue the tortfeasor does the “somebody done me wrong” individual plaintiff sue the tortfeasor?).


            15.            The U.S. government cannot be sued for harm caused by the negligence of federal employees.


            16.            In some states, a plaintiff may recover for emotional distress that is negligently caused by another.


            17.            Companies can now make commercial use of the name or likeness of celebrities without first obtaining the celebrities permission to do so because most states do not recognize the tort of invasion of the right to publicity.



Chapter 10


18.          Patents are granted by state governments, not by the federal government.

19.          Trademarks may be protected for up to three years prior to the time that they are actually used.


20.            A “term” acquires a secondary meaning when, through prolonged use, the public has come to associate that term with a particular product.


21.            In general, mere ideas and concepts cannot be copyrighted or patented.


22.               A trade secret may be disclosed without losing its legal protection if it is restrictively disclosed to another person who was aware of its secret nature.

23.               In general, a competitor is legally entitled to “reverse engineer” or copy a product if the product is sold to the public and the product has not been copyrighted or patented.

24.               A patent grants the exclusive right to use and sell the patented item for 17 years.

25.               Copyright infringement of programs is determined by focusing on the number of steps program share in common and NOT by focusing on the similarity between significant program steps.

26.               Federal law expressly prohibits the pending of any computer programs.

27.               A patent that has been issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office may be invalidated if a party can prove in litigation that the patented invention would be obvious to a person of ordinary skill in the art.



Chapter 11


28.               Conduct on the Internet is subject to traditional rules of law as well as new  statutes and case law relating to cyberspace activities.

29.               Communications sent via the Internet are not protected by the U.S. Constitution.

30.               Phishing and pharming are criminal uses of computers by which unscrupulous individuals obtain private financial information of innocent parties.

31.               Employers do not have a right to look at employees’ e-mail when it is communicated via the employer’s e-mail system.

32.               The Fourth Amendment prohibits the government from conducting unreasonable searches of a person’s computer.

33.               Due process requires that a party being sued has a  “nexus” with a state before it can be sued in that state.

34.               The United States Supreme Court has held that entering into a contract with a person in another state via the Internet is a sufficient connection to constitutionally justify being sued in that state.

35.               Federal securities law may apply to stock transactions conducted via the Internet.

36.               Federal intellectual property law is not apply to the World Wide Web.

37.               Congress recently enacted statute that makes a federal crime for a web site to gather and disclosed any information regarding a customer, regardless of their age, without first obtaining the customers consent to such disclosure.



Chapter 12


38.               Every agreement is a valid, legally binding contract.

39.               Contracts may relate to virtually any type of legal transaction, including performing services.

40.               Individuals and corporations can make contracts, but government agencies cannot.

41.               In general, agreement is not a legally binding contract unless the parties sufficiently indicate an intent to be legally bound by the terms of the agreement.


            42.            The Electronic Signature is in Global and National Commerce Act and the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act generally provide that electronic contracts are as valid as traditional ink signed paper contracts.


43.         Informal contracts are not legally binding.

44.         An option contract is a contract that gives one party the right or choice to accept an existing offer within a stated period of time.

45.         A right of first refusal contract gives a party the right to accept an offer only if another party subsequently decides to make the offer.

46.          An offeree can accept an offer for a bilateral contract by promising to perform the requested act.  A contract is formed when the offer he communicates this promise to the offeror.

47.           In some cases, a party may have a duty under “QUASI CONTRACT” to pay for  benefits received even though the party never contractually agreed to pay for such benefits.

48.            QUASI CONTRACT requires that a person must pay for any benefit that is ever received from another.    

49.            If a party enters into an express contract agreed to perform services for a stated price, then that party is entitled to recover only that amount; the party is not entitled to quasi — contract will recovery for the reasonable value of such services.



50.            The Starbucks trademark infringement cease and desist letter and subsequent response from Exit Six Brewery were funny, but quite illustrative of the issues involved in protection of a profitable and widely known trademark.