Starbucks is a responsible owner of a trademark and has the right to take the necessary steps to protect its marks’ strengths if it feels they have been compromised. The strategy of protecting its trademark rights is consistent with the organizations’ overall technique of upholding its intellectual property integrity. However, attempting to stop Zurich from the defense of Black Bear was unethical since the organization designed the amendment to affect the leverage of the settlement negotiation. The withdrawal of Zurich coverage defense would have made Black Bear use its finances in covering the costs of legal defense against Starbucks, which would have depleted the company’s finances, driving it into bankruptcy and making it discontinue fighting back. Thus, Starbucks’ ness strategy was not a legitimate business practice as it used its resources to impact settlement negotiation.
This statement is square with Starbucks’ litigation strategy because it portrays the company as self-centered in protecting itself by attacking Black Bear. However, Starbucks is committed to impacting communities it serves positively, and because the community is a broad scope, the company consists of groups of individuals affiliated by particular interest, geographic proximity, and the same interest in addressing similar issues affecting the people; Starbucks should have considered Black Bear as part of the community and seek for strategies to solve the dispute harmoniously without attempting to force Blak Bear into settlement unethically.
The code of ethics is meant to deter organizations from wrongdoing by promoting ethical conduct and honesty to ensure that organizations conduct operations ethically and consistently legally (Mundhe & Sanstha, 2020). Therefore, there is no ethical conflict between an organization’s objectives to being a good business neighbor and its responsibility in protecting its intellectual property, provided its actions toward protecting the intellectual property are guided by high ethical standards. Also, the organization should interact with other organizations during the litigation process in an honest and open positive manner driven by what is and right. For example, although Starbucks attempted to protect its intellectual property, it did not act ethically to serve as a good business neighbor.
Business ethics are standards that define morally wrong and proper conduct in corporate operations. Amidst the rapid growth of corporate practices, organizations must conduct practices correctly and adhere to trademark rights. Trademark laws are designed to prevent consumers from getting confused by trademarks that organizations use regarding their products or services (Stim, 2020). Ethically, if an organization uses a specific business name, another business in a similar field should not choose a name that can be confusingly similar. Therefore, it was not ethical for Black Bear to use Charbucks, a nearly identical name to another company’s coffee trademark.
Generally, it is not ethical for an organization to use an identical name to another because that can lead to consumer confusion and trademark dilution. However, it all depends on factors like geographic location, product, industry, and licensing agreement.
In my opinion, it was not ethical for Starbucks to exclusively rely on telephone surveys to determine the actual dilution because telephone surveys are biased. First, telephone surveys do not provide the participant with an equal chance of participation since only those with network connectivity and phones can participate in the study. Secondly, interviewers are likely to skip or probe complex questions, leading to unreliable results when using a telephone survey.
Mundhe, E. S., & Sanstha’s, R. S, (2020). Business Ethics: Elements and Importance.
Stim, R. (2020). Patent, copyright & trademark: an intellectual property desk reference.
BAD 2853 BUSINESS ETHICS ONLINE
Date and Semester
An ethical review of the movie The Firm and the dilemma of Whistleblowing.
1993 Paramount Studios produced by Sydney Pollack
The Firm is a 1993 Paramount Studios film produced by Sydney Pollack. In the
movie The Firm, Tom Cruise plays Mitch McDeere. Mitch McDeere is a young
college graduate with a promising future in law. A recent Harvard Law Honor
student, Mitch has a hard time juggling his idea of being successful as he is
overwhelmed with cut throat offers from law firms all over the country.
He is quickly won over by Bendini, Lambert, & Locke, a smaller firm
from Memphis who exploited his need for family by offering him a higher salary,
fully furnished home and car and a family first environment. Mitch was devastated
when his father died at an early age. Mitch is extremely devoted to his wife, Abby,
played by Jeanne Tripplehorn. Mitch denies association with his mother, and seeks to
distance himself from a brother who was incarcerated. Avery Tolar, played by Gene
Hackman, is Mitch’s mentor at the firm who firmly inserts himself as the father figure
Mitch had been missing. While basking in his success, McDeere is oblivious to subtle
underside of the Firm. Mitch is approached by FBI Agent Wayne Terrance, played by
Ed Harris, who had been investigating the firms’ ties to the Chicago Mob.
Abby quickly becomes uneasy when she realizes the Firm takes unusual interest in
their employees’ lives. The McDeere’s do not know that their home and cars have been
bugged by the firm. After two associates are murdered, Mitch and Abby become aware that
life is not what it seems. Mitch becomes uneasy while on a business trip to the Cayman
Islands with Avery and begins to suspect the firm may not be as cut and dry as they
proclaimed to be. Mitch enlists the help of an ex-con private investigator named Eddie
Lomax to look into the lawyers’ deaths and to find out what he was up against. While waiting
to hear from Lomax, Mitch was approached by an angry client than learned he was being
over billed. Mitch learns that 4 lawyers who were attempting to “blow the whistle” met with
death. After being rocked by the news of Lomax’s murder , Mitch learns from Agent
Terrance that the firm only has 30% legitimate business clients, the majority of its revenue
stemmed from shell corporations set up to launder money and drugs for Chicago Mob. Mitch
reluctantly agrees to aid the FBI in their investigation when he realizes the firm has bugged
his home and car and ultimately was responsible for the death of Eddie Lomax.
Mitch comes up with a plan to play both sides by a scheme to feed the firm false
information while trying to figure out how to make it out alive. Mitch uses the information
from his client to go after the firms’ illegal billing and mail fraud. Mitch was able to get the
FBI to agree to a money transfer and the release of his brother from prison in exchange for
information and immunity. After a tense moment with Abby, Mitch reveals that his plan is to
copy files to turn over to the FBI. When faced with the fact that the copier were set up with a
special billing code, Mitch enlists the help of Lomax’s former secretary to secure the files he
needs. After taking his oath, Mitch approaches the Mob to assure them he was not going to
expose their criminal actions, he just wanted to be able to give the FBI enough information to
get them off of his back. He secures the Mobs signature on an affidavit; legally binding
himself as their lawyer to win their trust. In the end, Mitch was able to give the FBI enough
information to secure an indictment, while keeping the Mob satisfied that he was legally
bound by the confidentially agreement. The movie ends with the secretary and her beau
sailing off on a ship while Mitch and Abby load their car up and head back to Boston and
their humble beginnings to begin their new life at his private firm.
This movie touched on a variety of ethical issues almost from the beginning. The
business ethics breached by the firm include: bribery of a court clerk to learn what Mitch had
been offered by another law firm, racketeering, false billing, wiretapping, blackmail, murder,
and tax evasion. The Firm willingly was corrupt and in their greed felt no remorse. The
Chicago Mob was unethically by the very nature of their business recklessly endangering
lives in their pursuit of power and money. Mitch’s moral ethics were dishonesty to the firm
about his background, adultery, fraud, greed, and ultimately manipulation of the law when he
schemed against the firm and the government. Mitch, feeling like his actions was the best
course for his family, as can be described as deontology. The FBI breached ethics by
blackmailing Mitch to co-operate by threatening him with criminal charges, disbarment, and
bodily harm. The FBI further endangered Mitch’s life when they faxed the firm a copy of
Mitch’s brothers’ release from jail. Agent Terrance felt his actions were for the better good,
therefore taking the utilitarian approach.
Since the movie was released, the standards of Whistle Blowing have changed
significantly. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act enhanced the standards for business practices and
bringing both civil and criminal actions to light. The Whistleblower’s Act (Exchange)
enables both internal and external sources to report illegal activity. This allows the person
filing the report autonomy and in many cases financial benefits depending on the situation.
Recently a lawyer was disbarred by the phone call of a single client citing him with Medicare
fraud. After investigation by the Virginia Bar Association it was found that the lawyer,
Steven Helm, had defrauded 22 of his clients over $130,000 in funds he used for personal
pleasure. Helm currently faces up to 23 years in federal prison. (Leamon)
My personal view on “whistleblowing” is that regardless of possible benefit, society in
whole would be better by just doing the right thing. Although I didn’t agree with Mitch’s
actions, I could understand his need to protect his family and his fear of harm. I feel like the
Sarbanes-Oxley Act has laid the foundation to better business practices and the stakeholders
benefit from the higher standards set forth in this act. It is my person opinion that The
Whistleblower’s Act over time should be standardized in its benefits so that greedy
individuals can’t gain monetary gain by manipulation of facts and law. I believe that with
these Acts society as a whole gains morally.
Business Ethics: Decision-Making for Personal Integrity & Social Responsibility,
by Hartman and Desjardins, McGraw-Hill/Irwin 1st Edition/2008, ISBN: 0-07-
Hausman, M., Doran, L., & Pollack, S. (Producers), Rabe, D., Towne, R., & Rayfiel, D.
(Writers), & Pollack, S. (Director). (1993). The Firm [Motion picture]. United States:
Exchange, U Exchange, US Secretary of. www.sec.gov. n.d.
S Secretary of. www.sec.gov. n.d.
Leamon, Scott. www.wsls10.com. 12 December 2011.
**** Other sources were uploaded as attachments******
Leamon, Scott. www.wsls10.com. 12 December 2011.
Court records point to whistle blower exposing former Salem
Court records point to whistle blower exposing former Salem… (Added: December 22, 2011)
Federal court records show disbarred Salem personal injury lawyer Steven Helm faces the possibility
of 27 to 33 months in prison.
Federal court records claim a single phone call brought down former Salem personal injury
attorney Steven Helm, his career, and his law practice.
The call came from a former Helm client in December 2009, according to court papers.
The former client called Helm wondering why Helm hadn’t paid a Medicare reimbursement
that was three years old.
Since Helm never “directly addressed the situation” the document read, the former client
filed a complaint with the Virginia State Bar.
The court records claim Helm tried to cover his tracks by sending Medicare three payments
between the late winter and early spring of 2010, but by that time, Virginia State Bar
investigators were on to Steven Helm.
Investigators found Helm’s whistle blowing former client was far from the only person the
Court documents outline claims that investigators found Helm used more than $130,000 of
his clients’ money to take vacations, pay for the school tuition of his child, and bankroll some
improvement projects for a few of his properties.
Helm was disbarred last spring.
A state judge appointed Roanoke attorney Tommy Joe Williams to oversee the closure of
Williams said he found 22 former clients of the Helm law firm that were owed money.
Williams said he recovered enough of Helm’s cash to pay back 20 of those former clients in
Williams said there was not enough money to pay back Helm’s other creditors.
While Helm faces the possibility of 23 years in federal prison after his pair of guilty pleas,
court records show federal guidelines call for a sentence of between 27 to 33 months.
On line court records show Helm’s sentencing date has not been set.
Helm’s attorney, David Walker, said he may ask the judge for Helm to simply serve
probation, pointing out that almost all of Helm’s former clients have been paid monies owed.
Walker also said Helm has enough money to pay legal fees owed to Tommy Joe Williams.
Walker said Helm suffered a “life changing event” which, once he worked through, tried to
set right all the wrongs.
BAD 2853 Business Ethics
Movie Review Project
Everyone will watch and review a Business Ethics related movie. The approved movies for this
project include the following:
1. Wall Street (1987) 2. A Civil Action
3. Blood Diamond 4. Boiler Room
5. Hoffia 6. Hudsucker Proxy
7. All the President’s Men 8. Glengarry Glen Ross
9. Quiz Show 10. The Company Men
11. Erin Brockovich 12. Too Big To Fail
13. Truman Show 14. Jerry Maguire
15. Enron: The Smartest Guys in The Room 16. Michael Clayton
17. Silkwood 18. The Insider
19. The Firm 20. Philadelphia
21. Flash of Genius 22. The Rainmaker
23. Runaway Jury 24. The Big Short
25. The Accountant 26. A Christmas Carol
27. Draft Day 28. The Social Network
29. North Country 30. Insomnia (2002)
31. Margin Call (2011) 32. Arbitrage
33. The China Syndrome 34. Deep Impact
35. Outbreak 36. Minority Report
Please email me if you have another Business Ethics related movie that you would like to use for
this project. I will research the movie and let you know if the movie will be acceptable for this
project. If you select a movie not on this list and do not receive approval, you will receive a zero
for the project.
Paper Outline: This is a paper so the project submission is a paper (not in outline form).
I. Cover Page (6 points)
a. Your name and BAD 2853 Business Ethics (2 points)
b. Date and Semester Online (2 points)
c. Name of your selected movie (2 points)
II. Body of Paper (94 points)
a. Name of movie (4 points)
b. Year of release (4 points)
c. Director (4 points)
d. Main actors/actresses, characters played, and character role in the movie. (12
For example, in the movie The Pelican Brief, Julia Roberts plays Darby
Shaw. Darby Shaw is a law student in New Orleans who writes a brief
about her theory on recent assassinations. Darby is also having an affair
with one of her law school professors.
e. Brief overview of movie (at least 12 sentences). (20 points)
The overview is in your own words, after you have watched the movie
several times. If you submit an overview or summary of a movie from the
Internet or any other source, you would be given a zero for this project.
This project is not difficult and should be somewhat entertaining. You are
watching a movie, writing about it, doing some research and receiving a
grade for all your work.
f. Facts – Describe briefly the facts of the case the movie is about (see g below).
g. Issues – Describe the significant ethical issues that this movie brought up.
(Remember that facts are not the same as ethical issues. For example, in the
movie Erin Brockovich, the townspeople are plagued by numerous medical
issues- one of the facts of the movie. One of the ethical issues of the movie was
why the company that was responsible for the ground water contamination,
acted in such a manner as displayed in the movie. (10 points)
h. Discuss how the significant ethical issues from part g relate to the coursework
this semester. At minimum, you should include the following in your
discussion: (10 points)
Ethical decision making process
i. * Start using the Internet here* Find a recent event (within the last two
years) that discusses the ethical issue (s) that you identified in part g and
summarize the event. Include the following: (10 points)
Title, Author and copyright year of the book used for reference
Or website citation (Wikipedia is NOT a reputable site!)
Summarize what the reference says
Include the source on a works cited page
Copy or scan sources and attach to the project (after the Works Cited
j. Describe in your own words what you think about this particular ethical issue.
k. Works Cited Page (must be submitted to be graded)
Format: The paper needs to be at least three complete typed pages (not including the cover
page). Format is double spaced, Times New Roman font, 12-point font size, top and bottom
margins should be 1.0 inch, and left and right margins should be 1.00 inch (do this under Layout
in Microsoft Word). Your sources should be copied and pasted, including citation, after your
Works Cited page or uploaded as a separate document/file (s). Any project submitted without
sources will receive a zero.