Understanding the power and limits of abnormal use

In recent years, there has been a rise in cases that stem from abnormal use of consumer products. The question is, what constitutes abnormal use? One of the best cases to look it to see how complex this issue can be are any of the ones involving energy drinks along with the precedent setting case Coca Cola won about their advertising.


When Coke was challenged they came out the winner

consumer case lawA consumer case was brought against the Coca Cola bottling company claiming that their advertising was misleading and during the case even a DUI attorney San Diego was needed to be brought in at one point to help resolve it. It presented Coke products, most notably their Vitamin Water as a health product. When consumers relied on it for health benefits they did not experience any. Coca Cola’s defense was that you would have to be delusional as a consumer to believe that any product they made was healthy. Relying on Vitamin Water as a part of your health regimen implied abnormal use by the consumer. The courts agreed. That case also bears looking at for the intricacies on the ruling and how they apply to misleading advertising.


Slightly different, but very much the same

Along come popular energy drinks that promise to deliver an energy boost. Most of them do this through the addition of high levels of caffeine. Some consumers who have consumed copious amounts of the drinks have experienced heart attacks, palpitations and other cardiac related issues. Consumers repeatedly file suits against the companies saying that there is not adequate warning on the labels of the potential effects of too much consumption. Companies argue back that the products are advertised as a quick energy boost, not a way to sustain energy and that drinking more than one constitutes abnormal use. According to Brian Musell Attorney, so far the courts have ruled in the companies favor.


What is abnormal use?

Abnormal use is defined as use beyond the intended use of the product by the manufacturer, it does not account for the implied use suggested by clever marketing. It is assumed that the consumer will use fair judgment and common sense in the use of the product along the guidelines stated on the label – not the advertising – for the product.

Protecting your intellectual property online

copyright lawMany people think that the only way to protect their intellectual property online is to just not post it. Not only is that unrealistic if your livelihood is associated with your creation, but it doesn’t do anything to stop someone else from posting a copy of your work. Even when it comes to non-professional artists, writers and photographers the ground can get slippery. The terms and conditions of social network sites can come with some surprising clauses about who owns the electronic copyright to the item. There are several things you can do to protect yourself according to one Baltimore accident lawyer.


Register the work

Whether it is a painting, poem or engineering design you want to register the work with the proper agency. In some instances, as with patents and schematics, you may need a lawyer to help you file the paperwork. In all cases you may benefit from having a lawyer help you, as one of the unexpected complications is that many countries don’t recognize an other’s copyright use. There has been a lot of work done to try and standardize protection on a global scale, but there isn’t anything solid in place yet.


Be aware of the protections allowed non-professional work

If you take a snapshot and post it to your social media account you may be giving them permission to use it for marketing purposes, or to resell it. Always make sure that you read the terms and conditions carefully, as well as any privacy updates that are issued. One good practice to adopt is checking your privacy settings at least once a month. There have been some notorious cases in which a social media network updated a privacy policy and automatically switched privacy settings to the new policy only allowing users to opt out, not opt in. Apple is currently going through a same process with their recent announcement about opting out of their news feed.


What to do when your creation is used by someone else?

Get a lawyer, like Lawyer Bobby Zirkin – plain and simple. Some cases of reposting can be taken care of by contacting the site or company and asking them to remove the image or content, but your request will be attended to much quicker if it comes from a lawyer. Having a lawyer contact a company with a request is much more affordable than you think, and it can often be enough to resolve the problem.