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  • 1.  Question of Business Ethics

    Posted 02-02-2018 01:44 PM
    I have a hypothetical business ethics situation.

    Widget manufactures a unique specialized construction product. A competing company, Sprocket, also sells the same product. Sprocket recently distributed a Sprocket branded flyer that highlighted a project that was constructed using Widget's product. The flyer doesn't exactly say the manufacture of the material but any reasonable person reading the flyer would assume that Sprocket's product was used in the project.

    If the competing company, Sprocket, doesn't say that it is their material did they do anything wrong?

    What course of action should be taken by Widget?

    Trevor Towery
    Elastizell Corporation of America


  • 2.  RE: Question of Business Ethics

    Posted 02-02-2018 04:12 PM
    There is no recourse if the product is not patented.  There is no recourse if Sprocket did not claim ownership of the work.  The owners of the project may object to their project being featured in the advertisement.  I would say that Widget should first contact the owner of the project and make them aware of the advertisement.  The owner would be in the best position to act on behalf of Widget to file a cease and desist order against their property being used for advertising purposes, regardless of the product being highlighted.

    Chad Morrison P.E., M.ASCE
    Professional Engineer
    Greenville RI

  • 3.  RE: Question of Business Ethics

    Posted 02-05-2018 11:10 AM
    Chad's answer is on the mark. We had similar situation where one of our major excavation design projects was used by a competitor in their SOQ to show similar experience for an interview. We notified the owner but no further action was taken.

    Uday Bhate P.E., M.ASCE
    Birmingham AL

  • 4.  RE: Question of Business Ethics

    Posted 06-19-2018 06:28 PM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 06-19-2018 06:27 PM
    On the subject of Business Ethics, I wrote the following:

                                    A paper published by ASCE titled "Ethics in Engineering Practice:
                                                                                    How Easy It Becomes To See In The Dark."
                                                                                              LME 2007, 7(4): 151-157.

                                                                                   William M. Hayden Jr., Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE


    William M. Hayden Jr., Ph.D., P.E., CMQ/OE, F.ASCE
    Buffalo, N.Y.

    "It is never too late to be what you might have been." -- George Eliot 1819 - 1880