Walmart Store, Inc. Case, assignment help

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Review
Case 8.1, A U.S. Supreme Court Case titled Walmart Stores, Inc. v. Samara
Brothers, Inc.  Using the IRAC Method of
briefing cases found in the Appendix below, prepare a document that outlines
the legal aspects of this case.

Write
an eight to twelve (8-12) page paper in which you:

  1. Summarize the
    facts associated with Walmart Stores, Inc. v. Samara Brothers, Inc.
  2. Identity the legal
    question(s) that is under consideration.
  3. Prioritize the
    rules of law that the court will consider in this case.
  4. Compile the
    court’s decision and opinions on the case.
  5. Prepare a
    conclusion for the outcome of the case.

Your
assignment must follow these formatting requirements:

  • Be typed, double
    spaced, using Times New Roman font (size 12), with one-inch margins on all
    sides; citations and references must follow APA or school-specific format.
    Check with your professor for any additional instructions.
  • Include a cover
    page containing the title of the assignment, the student’s name, the
    professor’s name, the course title, and the date. The cover page and the
    reference page are not included in the required assignment page length.

The
specific course learning outcomes associated with this assignment are:

  • Given a business
    situation, evaluate the various options for resolving a business dispute
    from a legal perspective and develop an optimal course of action to
    resolve the dispute.
  • Use technology and
    information resources to research issues in commercial law.
  • Write clearly and
    concisely about commercial law using proper writing mechanics.

Appendix: Case 8.1 U.S. Supreme Court
Business Ethics

Walmart Stores, Inc. v. Samara Brothers,
Inc.

529 U.S. 205, 120 S.Ct. 1339, 149
L.Ed..2d. 182, Web 2000 U.S. Lexis 2197 (2000)

Supreme Court of the United States

“Their suspicions aroused, however,
Samara officials launched an investigation, which disclosed that Walmart [was]
selling the knockoffs of Samara’s outfits.”

— Justice Scalia

Facts

Samara Brothers, Inc. (Samara), is a designer and
manufacturer of children’s clothing. The core of Samara’s business is its
annual new line of spring and summer garments for children. Samara sold it
clothing to retailers, who in turn sold the clothes to consumers. Walmart
Stores, Inc. (Walmart), operates a large chain of budget warehouse stores that
sell thousands of items at very low prices. Walmart contacted one of its
suppliers, Judy-Philippine, Inc. (JPI), about the possibility of making a line
of children’s clothes just like Samara’s successful line. Walmart sent
photographs of Samara’s children clothes to JPI (the “Samara” was readily
discernible on the labels of the garments) and directed JPI to produce
children’s clothes exactly like those in the photographs. JPI produced a line
of children’s clothes for Walmart, which had copied the designs, colors, and
patterns of Samara’s clothing. Walmart then sold this line of children’s
clothing in its stores, making a gross profit of over $1.15 million on these
clothes sales during the 1996 selling season.

  Samara discovered the Walmart was
selling the knockoff clothes at a price that was lower than Samara’s retailers
were paying Samara for its clothes. After sending unsuccessful cease-and-desist
letters to Walmart, Samara sued Walmart, alleging that Walmart stole Samara’s
trade dress (i.e., look and feel) in violation of Section 43(a) of the Lanham
Act. Although not finding that Samara’s clothes had acquired a secondary
meaning in the minds of the public, the U.S. District Court held in favor of
Samara and awarded damages. The U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed the award to
Samara. Walmart appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Issue

Must a product’s design have acquired a
secondary meaning before it is protected as trade dress?

Language
of the U.S. Supreme Court

The Lanham Act, the
Section 43(a), gives a product a cause of action for the use by any person of
“any word, term, name, symbol, or device, or any combination thereof which is
likely to cause confusion as to the origin, sponsorship, or approval of his or
her goods.” The text of Section 43(a) provides little guidance as to the
circumstances under which unregistered trade dress may be protected. It does
require that a producer show that the allegedly infringing feature is likely to
cause confusion with the product for which protection is sought. In an action
for infringement of unregistered trade dress a product’s design is protectable
only upon a showing of secondary meaning.

Decision

The
U.S. Supreme Court held that a product’s design should have acquired a
secondary meaning in the public’s eye before it is protected as trade dress
under Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act. The Supreme Court reversed the decision
of the U.S. Court of Appeals and remanded the case for further proceedings
consistent with its opinion.

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