assignment, you, in the role of a risk manager at Simply Green Products,
will draft a document that is commonly used in the business world—a
memorandum to your boss.
Simply Green Products is a $10 million
company that produces biodegradable packing materials that orchards use
in the Shenandoah Valley to transport their apples, peaches, and pears
nationwide. Biodegradable materials are more eco-friendly because they
break down into the environment. Such packing materials are marketed
under the name “SafePack,” which is heavily advertised in trade
journals. Simply Green Products have had the name “SafePack” imprinted
on all of their packing material since 2008; however, they never filed
for either state or federal trademark protection. With the movement
toward more eco-friendly agricultural production, the fact that such
packing materials are biodegradable provides a primary marketing
advantage over non-biodegradable competitors.
president, Shep Howard, has recently become aware of several issues that
may require referral to the company’s outside counsel. Because you
serve as the company’s risk manager, Howard has asked you to leverage
your legal and managerial skills to draft a memorandum that addresses
one (1) of the two (2) situations described below:
environmental group is asserting that SafePack materials are not
biodegradable. In fact, the group claims that these materials are
causing an environmental hazard that is seeping from a local landfill
into a nearby stream. An environmental group, SafePack Materials
Pollute, has sprung up and launched an Internet campaign geared toward
compelling fruit producers to stop purchasing your packing materials.
The situation at hand raises environmental issues that relate to the
Clean Water Act and the Solid Waste Disposal Act.
- A company
called Safe Choices, Inc. has accused Simply Green Products of trademark
infringement, and has sent a cease and desist letter to President
Howard, demanding that Simply Green Products stop using the name
“SafePack”. The letter asserts that a) Safe Choices uses the SafePack
name to market an emergency weather kit in the form of a backpack; and
that b) Safe Choices had received a federal registration for the mark
from the Patent and Trademark Office in 2002. This backpack is sold both
online at safepack.com and in sporting goods stores nationwide. The
letter goes on to suggest that Simply Green Product’s use of this name
“constitutes a false designation of origin which is likely to confuse
customers as to the source of the goods”. The intellectual property
issue at hand involves the Lanham Act.
For one (1) of
the two (2) situations set out above, write a three to four (3-4) page
memorandum to President Howard. Ensure that you address each of the
questions below within your memo so that President Howard may assess
whether or not Simply Green Products needs to hire outside counsel to
address the matter at hand.
- Discuss the elements that must be
present in order for one to prove a valid claim under the law(s)
specified (i.e., the Clean Water Act, the Solid Waste Disposal Act, or
the Lanham Act).
- Determine whether or not the activity of
Simply Green Products amounts to a violation of the applicable law
(i.e., the Clean Water Act, the Solid Waste Disposal Act, or the Lanham
Act). If you chose the environmental issue, determine whether or not
seepage from your products into a stream would violate the Clean Water
Act, the Solid Waste Disposal Act, or both. Explain your rationale. If
you chose the intellectual property matter, determine whether or not
continued use of the SafePack name by your company would violate the
Lanham Act. Explain your rationale.
- Decide whether or not
President Howard should refer this chosen matter to the company’s
outside counsel. Provide a rationale for your decision.
- Use at
least three (3) high-quality academic references. As the cases
discussed within the assignment are hypothetical, you will not find any
solutions to them on the Internet. Further, note that Wikipedia, blogs,
and such Websites as Free Dictionary do not qualify as academic
resources, whereas your textbook does. Use the Strayer Learning Resource
Center (LRC) to locate high-quality academic references.