Acme’s Inc. and Beta Inc. Ethical Dilemma

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28th Feb 2020 Report Reference this

Tags: Business ReportsReportBusiness EthicsBeta IncIntellectual Property

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Introduction

The protection of intellectual property is a key action is approved by the administration to ensure that company and personal discoveries are protected. An entity spends much money in making discoveries and therefore the deliberate protection of intellectual property would be significant in permitting the inventors to get a income that would reimburse the budget spent on the discovery (Grossman & Lai, 2004). However, commonly, breach of intellectual property patent is common domestically and internationally. The stealing of intellectual property is bad act that may hinder and impede innovations. Acme Inc. made the cancer treatment discovery that was highly efficient and since the company was not ready to sell the drug, it arouses an ethical dilemma. Beta Inc. went ahead and copied the idea to help the citizens but this still offers no justifications for the theft of intellectual property. In the American spontaneous development, patenting of intellectual property and ethical suppositions are increasingly becoming the order of the day (Smarzynska, 2002). Through intellectual property patenting, a person is motivated to be more innovative and to fully exploit their intellectual abilities as they are fully aware that at the end of it all, they will have huge returns. However, the right of ownership of a mastermind is not something new to the Americans. There has been a gradual increase in the encapsulation to cover the various diverse intellectual properties. Despite the existence of well set out guidelines that guide and protect intellectual property patenting by the government, there are many legal issues that the judicial system has to deal with in relation to stealing of patent products or ideas and breach of patents (Lenk, Hoppe, Lenk, & Campbell, 2016).

Identify the intellectual property implications in this scenario

Acme Inc. initially went ahead to seek a legal procedure that sought to get a patent for its anti-cancer drug to ensure their product was protected from any intellectual theft. The patent stipulated that Acme Inc., had the right to hide the awareness son the procedure and ingredient during the drug manufacture. It was key for Acme Inc., to get a patent for its product to ensure that the money they will accumulate will compensate for the cost incurred by the industry in the research process, product testing,  and coming up with the specific ingredient that should be put into use in the production process. The government through the legal division makes it possible for the organization to foster innovation through the patent. Acme Inc., is an example of the many companies that has been enabled to be involved in expensive research of development of drugs that would ultimately benefit the population. However, despite the increase in innovations, there has been an increase in intellectual crimes that pose a risk to innovation and make the expensive drug development process not so welcoming to corporations that are involved in the production of drugs (Schenker, 2011). Beta Inc. went ahead and imitated the Acme Inc.’ s anticancer medication specifications  and they choose to put it in the market at a cost that only gave revenue that is equal to that spent in the process of manufacturing. The company chose to manufacture the drug and sell it out at no profit to the company. Their main objective was to avail the anti-cancer drug to the public to ensure that the cancer patient received an efficient drug and get to save their lives. Despite the fact the Acme Inc., made a choice to not have the drug in the shelves, the act by Berta Inc. is till considered as a breach of the intellectual protect property patent. However, the situation raises an ethical dilemma that would refute justifying the choices made by the two companies. Acme Inc., had a responsibility to the public and this is seen in their increased research in cancer drugs and this should culminate to an increase in the quality of life of the population.  It was not ethical for Acme Inc. to make discoveries on a medication that would probably save many lives locally and internationally and make the decision to reserve it. The discovery by Acme Inc., was panted but the organization should have prioritized the benefits of the drug to the society by making sure they release the betted anti-cancer drug to the market. However, Acme Inc. being a registered company, is an independent entity whose decision making cannot be influenced by external forces. With this in mind, the decision to withhold the drug from the public is the company’s independent decision and they are at the liberty to make the decisions if the decision offers the best to the company. However, such a drug is of great potential and importance and it should not be hidden from the public with the many current struggles in cancer management. In this case, the company followed its legal obligation but it went against their moral responsibility to the society when it runs its operations. The decision by Acme Inc. to not release the medicine to the public could be viewed as an endeavor to develop an anticompetitive business model where only the company can determine and fully control the prices of anti-cancer medication. In such cases, the government should come in and help prevent the formation of monopoly before it actually occurs. The dilemma resulting from Acme Inc.’s decision justifies the need for the company to give an explanation on their motive. It is fully evident that Acme Inc. did not adhere to its moral obligation to the citizens since they did not withhold the product on any rational or tangible basis (Schenker, 2011).

Discuss how alternative dispute resolution applies

There exist alternative dispute resolutions (ADR) that would be an ideal way to resolve the conflicts between the two companies despite the dispute on the breach of patent. ADR refers to approaches used in resolution of conflicts that does not include legal actions (FindLaw, 2018). Mediation done of the alternatives and it is much less formal than litigation and it would be used to resolve the battle amongst the dual organizations. Mediation is a distinguished method of conflict resolving because it proposes a podium that allows the disagreeing entities to be involved in far-reaching discussions with the aim of looking for an effective and satiating answer to their problems (FindLaw, 2018).  The process of mediation can be used in various cases from federal legislation issue stop juvenile cases. The process of mediation would benefit the two companies in the case since it will allow them to be in full control of the process that will be undertaken to reach the solution and in the end control the outcome of the whole process. An agreement of both parties offers justification of a successful process of mediation making the process inclusive and thus legitimizing the solution. Arbitration is the second alternative approach. It involves the introduction of a third party, arbitral panel that will be responsible for overseeing and making critical judgment on the evidence submitted by both parties (FindLaw, 2018). The two companies will be needed to select an arbitrator who is competent and with no interest in the case. The arbitrator is needed to be well mannered when handling the submitted evidence including the critiquing and the judgment. People with any personal interest in the outcome of the case is disqualified for the position of arbitrator. In the long run, a mediation outcome or arbitrary action would be key in resolving the breach of the intellectual property patent (Yeo et al., 2010).

Ethical dilemma faced by the corporations and theories recommended to resolve the issue

The case between Acme Inc. and Beta Inc. is filled with many ethical dilemmas. To start with, Acme Inc. is faced with an ethical dilemma on whether they should impose any legal actions on Beta Inc. for the breach of the patent on the anti-cancer drug and selling out the drug yet Acme Inc. when Acme Inc. itself is reluctant on taking actions and saving lives. Acme Inc. is morally compelled to the society to raising their quality of life, precisely to the cancer patients. Inversely, Beta Inc. is faced with a dilemmas on following the pant legislation with the many cancer patients that are dying every single day. There exist no justification for the company to copy the cancer drug, but since the drug is sold out at a cost that enables the company to only get the money spent on the manufacturing process it shows that their action was motivated by the need to do a greater good. But still question would be asked on whether Beta Inc. was justified to copy a drug that Acme Inc. had spent millions on from the discovery of ingredients, its development and testing. The reason for the break of the intellectual property patent appears beneficial and rational to the society. However, allowing violations like this would be a great discouragement to innovation and it would bring up a platform that would create a justification to the people engaged in business operations that are not permitted by the law (Yeo et al, 2010). Utilitarian approach would be instrumental for the scrutiny of the Acme Inc. and Beta Inc. case ethical dilemma. Utilitarianism suggest that for act to be just, it should foster the achievement of more happiness levels and do way with pain and distress among the majorities (Eggleston, 2012). In the two corporation case, Acme remained at withholding medicine that could have possibly brought great changes to the general cancer curing process by ensuring an increase in the efficiency of treatement. With regards to the utilitarianism theory, Beta Inc. the choice by Beta Inc. to copy the drug and make it available to the public at a accost that offers no profit to the corporation is justifiable (Brown University, 2015). However, Acme Inc. would be courteous enough and try considering building of mutual partnership with Beta Inc. in the manufacture and selling of the anti-cancer medication to makes sure that Acme Inc. gets some income from the money they put into exploration and the general drug manufacturing and testing. The duty-base ethical framework would also be key in getting insights on the ethical dilemma. Acme Inc. is morally obliged to the citizens. Therefore, the decision they made to withhold the drug from the public was a violation of one of its duties to the public. Kant’s postulations has it that, the intention that dictate actions are more important than the consequences of the actions (Shakil, 2013). Therefore, in this look, Beta Inc. decision is warranted since its intents were pure and coherent with the betterment of human lives.

Conclusion

The decision by Acme Inc. to withhold medication that could generally change the direction of cancer treatment process and outcome and the decision by Beta Inc. to imitate the same dug and have it in the market shelf is controversial. Acme Inc. went through the whole process of obtaining an intellectual property patent for the anti-cancer drug but it was reluctant to dispatch the medication to the shelves to ensure they saved the lives of masses of patients suffering from cancer and those dying in the world from cancer. In this instance, Acme Inc. did not meet its moral responsibility to the society. The decision by Beta Inc. to imitate the drug and ensure its sale is against the intellectual property patent legislature, but their decision can be justified as per the utilitarian and duty-based ethical frameworks. However, the ethical dilemma dispute can be solved through alternative approaches such as mediation and arbitration. Holistically, the issue could get resolved by developing mutually agreed upon partnerships in the manufacturing and marketing of the anticancer drug. Through the partnership, it would allow both corporations Acme Inc. and Beta Inc. to fully profit from the effort jointly.

References

  • Brown University. (2015). A framework for making ethical decisions. Retrieved from https://www.brown.edu/academics/science-and-technology-studies/framework-making-ethical-decisions.
  • Eggleston, B. (2012). Utilitarianism. Retrieved from http://www.benegg.net/publications/Eggleston_Utilitarianism.pdf
  • FindLaw. 2018. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR): Overview. Retrieved from https://adr.findlaw.com/arbitration/arbitration-overview.html
  • Grossman, G. M., & Lai, E. L. C. (2004). International protection of intellectual property. American Economic Review94(5), 1635-1653.
  • Lenk, C., Hoppe, N., Lenk, C., & Campbell, P. T. D. (2016). Ethics and Law of Intellectual Property: Current Problems in Politics, Science and Technology. Abingdon: Taylor and Francis.
  • Schenker, J. G. (2011). Ethical dilemmas in assisted reproductive technologies. Berlin: De Gruyter.
  • Shakil, A. (2013). Kantian duty based (Deontological) ethics. Retrieved from https://sevenpillarsinstitute.org/kantian-duty-based-deontological-ethics/
  • Smarzynska, B. (2002). The composition of foreign direct investment and protection of intellectual property rights: Evidence from transition economies. The World Bank.
  • Yeo, K. S., Ng, K. T., Kong, Z. H., & Dang, T. B. Y. (2010). Intellectual Property for Integrated Circuits. Ft. Lauderdale.

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