Find a company that has been in the news recently.  Using the material that you read in Appendix B of “The business guide to legal literacy: what every manager should know about the law”.

Product liability

For the first part of this discussion, I would like to talk about product liability. There have been numerous examples of defective products that could potentially cause harm to consumers. We have heard stories on the news about vehicle recalls, cell phones that caught fire, hover boards that caused fires, and the list goes on. Product liability laws are in place to protect consumers from unreasonable harm from the products they buy. Examples of this can include design flaws, manufacturing defects, and unexpected hazards from misuse. There are different liability laws depending on the jurisdiction and they can vary based on the types of products in question. There also may be differing statutes of limitation, depending on the jurisdiction.


Looking deeper into this subject, I would like to talk about Samsung. The Galaxy Note 7 was recalled because of battery issues that could potentially cause fires. This is one of the largest examples of a global recall of a smart phone. I can remember taking a flight towards the end of last year, and hearing an announcement that any passenger with this phone would not be allowed to board the plane. These issues were cause by a design failure in the battery of one batch, and a manufacturing defect in another. The company is offering different discounts, loyalty bonuses, and other incentives to customers who bought these phones, and had to turn them in because of the recall. Samsung is reported to be working quickly to release the Galaxy Note 8, in an effort to recoup some of the lost money as a result of this problem.


For the second part of this discussion, I would like to talk about Samsung and the lawsuit with Apple regarding infringing on Apple’s iPhone patents. Patents are used to protect a company (and their products) from being copied by other manufacturers for a period of time. Over the past several years, Apple and Samsung have been in a legal battle, with Apple claiming that Samsung copied many of the iPhone’s designs and functions. After several years, the case was ultimately won by Apple, which required Samsung to pay 120 million dollars.