After reading the articles, discuss the following: what are your thoughts on how large companies or powerful people take advantage of businesses, employees or consumers who rely on them for their livelihood or wellbeing. Can you name examples of other companies, people or industries who employ similar practices. Is a covenant to compete permissible in California, why or why not? Are there any ways around any restrictions. Remember to include the source link to the material that you used or cited.
Unequal Bargaining Power in the Marketplace
Contracts are agreements that are enforceable in court. You’ve learned how the law can be used as a sword or a shield to protect you from competitors in the market place. If you have a patent on an invention that can save businesses money (e.g., pop open lids for can foods or soda cans), you can make a ton of money (even if its a fractional penny per can, and the cans using your invention are in the billions; after a while that’s a lot of money). The patent can be used as a shield to protect you against your competitors and a sword to stop them from copying and using your invention without paying a fee.
- Contracts are supposed to be the result of arms-length negotiations where everyone gets the benefit of their bargain. But not all parties have equal bargaining power in the negotiations. The only thing that is equal is that either party has the power to walk away from the deal.
- Many high tech workers and scientists sign employment agreements where they assign their property rights to inventions or discoveries that they have made to their employer. Is that equal bargaining power?
- Reading Assignment
- Please read the following articles on non-compete clauses and unequal bargaining power and how large companies use their market size to dictate terms to their employees or smaller vendors:
‘MONEY AND GREED’: HOW NON-COMPETE CLAUSES FORCE (LOW-WAGE) WORKERS TO FIGHT FOR RIGHTS: (LINKS TO AN EXTERNAL SITE.)