Accountabullity is a small business started a few years ago by Tess English. Ms. English started the business when she developed software that would monitor and record the discharge of firearms. The program is downloaded into a small microchip that is internally attached to a firearm. The software monitors the discharge of the firearm, recording the date and time of the discharge, and maintains that information in a database which can be downloaded to a computer.
This product has attracted interest around the country from different police organizations. The microchip is relatively inexpensive to manufacture, and Ms. English is currently buying the microchip from MC Company pursuant to a written contract.
It is evident that Ms. English’s invention will become very lucrative. It is also evident that as the popularity of the product increases, Ms. English will depend upon you even more. As usual, she would like you to submit a paper detailing your ideas and advice.
The following issue is to be addressed at the meeting:
There are continuing sales of the product to police departments throughout the U.S. To be accommodating, Ms. English has voluntarily and without charge installed the product in the firearms of those police agencies. She realizes as sales increase that this accommodation will either have to be eliminated, or that a charge will have to be added to the overall price of the product. She is thinking of distributing the product with an “installation manual.” The product itself is sturdy, and installation simply involves attaching the product on the weapon near the firing chamber. She has concerns, however, that someone might improperly install the product and thus interfere with the original design of the weapon. She fears that this may cause a malfunction such as “jamming.”
What are your thoughts? What should the installation manual include? What, if any, legal issues are presented?
Ms. English would also like you to advise her as to other ways she can reduce her liability so please advise her as to all possible options.
While meeting with Ms. English about this situation, please also advise her regarding the law that applies here and how it applies to her and her product specifically. And, advise her regarding her possible defenses, if any.