Credit Unit 2 Introduction
Welcome to Credit Unit 2! This Credit Unit we will be exploring Contracts, Property Law, and Intellectual Property. Below is an outline to familiarize youwith the content we will be going over in this Credit Unit.
Contracts come in all shapes and sizes. You enter into a contract with a broker and seller when you purchase a house. Businesses enter into contracts with other businesses to set prices and solidify relationships. If you want reliable work done on your house, you will have a contract with your contractor, hence the name.
Contracts are legally-binding relationships. In most circumstances, a contract involves an agreement to deliver a product or service at a specified time on a specified date. Violating a contract can result in a lawsuit or some kind of settlement. While courts can be involved in this process, these situations can also be settled outside of the judicial system. Laws regarding contracts vary from state to state, so it is always important to know the contract law in your area. This Credit Unit will discuss contracts in great detail, but it will not cover everything. By the end of this Credit Unit, you should have a general familiarity with how most contracts are written and enforced.
The idea of property usually strikes people as a fairly simple concept. However, the law recognizes that the interests in various types of property are often anything but simple and can sometimes result in highly complex problems. For example, if you sell your house to someone, what stays as part of the house and what can you take with you when you leave? Certainly you would have an automatic right to take your clothes, your furniture, and hanging photographs and artwork. But what about a favorite chandelier? How about a built-in island in the kitchen? Can you take the windows? The law recognizes two categories of property. There is real property, which is land and anything attached to it, such as a house and items attached to it. Alternatively, there is personal property, which is everything else. As you work through this Credit Unit, ask yourself about the circumstances when one item can be personal property in one situation and real property in another.
How many people have the recipe for Coca-Cola? Probably only a few high-level executives within the company. The recipe gives Coca-Cola a distinctive taste that is known the world over. If the recipe became public knowledge, Coca-Cola might lose its advantage; therefore, this recipe is one of the most closely guarded trade secrets in the U.S.
Trade secrets are one type of intellectual property, property that is not tangible, but has an owner. Most forms of intellectual property are protected by the government. When a famous author publishes a book, you can’t go and copy the text and publish it under your name. The author and publisher have a copyright on the text of the book. If you did try to copy the book, you would be sued quickly. In this Credit Unit, we will look at the ways in which intellectual property is leveraged in business and study firms that rely solely on licensing their intellectual property for income.
Credit Unit Outcomes:
- Explain the origins of the American legal system.
- Apply elements of law to specific individual and business scenarios.
- Understand the requirements for a valid contract and apply those requirements to specific contractual activities.
- Recognize the interconnectedness of the legal system to business, society, and the environment.
- Explain the impact of the uniform commercial code, UCC, on the business environment.