White Paper Proposal #2 on Patent Reform

This week I want to investigate patents from the lens of the businesses, using companies like Apple, Samsung, and Google as examples.  I want to discuss why these companies do or don’t want further patent reform, and how they abuse or lose out because of the current system. Critics of the current intellectual-property laws believe the US Patent and Trademark Office allows for too many patents which clogs the courts.

Many have heard about the Apple-Samsung case and outcome regarding patents on phones and tablets. As a business, it is in Apple’s best interest to run Androids and tablets off the market. They should do this in any way they can, using all of their resources. While part of that is making a better product, there is also no problem with them taking advantage of the system. Apple should not be looked at as the bad guy; they are just using the current patent system to their advantage.

Many companies believe that the back and forth patent wars over broad and abstract concepts stifles innovation. The more time spent in courtrooms and deliberating over whether a concept can be put to use means less time will be spent producing new and improved products for society and its consumers. Companies like Google have become archrivals with Apple since they launched their own mobile operating system. Now, patent battles have become more prevalent between the two.

I plan on going more in depth on how companies like Apple take advantage of the current patent system, and its overall effect on the business world and competition within it. After looking into this overall effect, and understanding strategy as well as the qualms with the whole patent process through the lens of businesses, I’d like to assess whether further patent reform is a necessity or not.

The Software Patent Dilemma

While Obama did pass the America Invents Act, nothing in the act addressed software patents. Software patents have been under heated debate for years. The debate is over where the line should be in terms of what software is patentable, whether saying software patents are too abstract is fair, and if innovation is encouraged or not by patents on software. Continue reading

What does The Truman Show tell us about company ethics?


When thinking about ethics in pop culture, the first idea that came to mind was The Truman Show starring Jim Carrey. For those of you who haven’t seen the film, here is the trailer! The protagonist, Truman, is the world’s first true reality TV star who has been filmed since birth in an artificial studio world built just for him. Everyone he has ever known is an actor, every interaction he has ever had is fake, and he is the only one who doesn’t know the truth. Even the environment itself is controlled by the director, Christoff, who manipulates everything from traffic to the weather in order to get higher ratings. The staff (comprised of studio employees, technical directors and actors) go along willingly with every one of Christoff’s demands in his attempt to play God. Despite the fact that what is going on is clearly wrong, everyone being paid to work on the program goes along willingly (with the exception of Truman’s love interest as a young man who tries to tell him the truth). They abandon any shroud of ethical thought and listen to the orders of their leader. Continue reading

Paper one – Who takes care of ethics?

Although we have continually analyzed the situation regarding Apple and the Foxconn controversy, it seems to me that there exists a general lack of accountability regarding the case. Everyone seems to point their fingers at someone else. One vital question still stands out to me – who’s fault is it? Who has let this happen? Who is responsible for a corporation’s good or bad ethics and how does this affect the business decisions? I want to further analyse the scene to identify Apple as either a shareholder or a stakeholder company, clarify what this means and the responsibilities held by each associated party, and finally answer the question of who is to blame. Who has to be ethical? Who’s job is it to protect the ethics of a company?

Brand Exceptionalism in Relation to BGS

I stumbled upon a blog comment called “The end of brand exceptionalism?” on a blog titled ideationz…a blog from rick s. pulito. As someone very interested in brand management and marketing, I always find interest in linking my not-necessarily-marketing-specific readings to my more favored subjects. This particular article shared some common threads with the cases that we have recently analyzed in BGS. The author forms one strong connection when he claims, “It’s about being ‘liked’ and that means that your brand has to make others feel ‘liked’ as a result of associating with you.” I immediately related this idea to the Apple “case study” and the TAL videos. Certainly, the recent Foxconn scandal may cause concern among socially-conscious customers, but Apple nevertheless expects to sell 10 million iPhone 5s by the end of September. Customers favor Apple products for the same reasons that analysts marvel at it’s success – the “cool” factor. But at what point does success overshadow ethics?

Paper 1 Idea

For my essay, I would like to explore further the ethical issues associated with Apple and its factories in China, specifically Foxconn.  In the essay, I will discuss the conditions found in the factories and how they are ethically wrong and go against most American social standards.  I will focus specifically on stakeholder ethics and how Apple should force its factories to treat their workers better, since they are technically shareholders.  I will also touch on Mike Daisy’s expose of the Foxconn factory, its retraction, and the general reaction (or lack there of) in the US.