With the rapid growth of e-business it is no small wonder why businesses today are taking advantage of the online market. The overall convenience and lack of complexity with buying products and services online has converted most of the public to shopping via the internet. Any business that sells a service or product must strongly consider the fact that being without a website or means for the public to shop online will only hinder the business’ profits and any chance for future development. Many small businesses are realizing first hand that the lack of e-business will ultimately make their companies obsolete.
E-business is not without fault though. There are many issues that revolve around the legality of contracts and ownership of property and services. When buying or selling goods and services online, both the buyer and seller agree to a mutually binding contract that ensures the satisfaction and legitimacy of the transaction. A contract is a legally enforceable agreement between individuals or parties that promises a good or service in exchange for something else (Shefrin, 2006). Generally, contractual agreements need certain elements to make them legitimate. The first set of elements include; mutual assent, an offer, and acceptance of the offer (Shefrin, 2006). Also, both parties must have the capacity to understand the terms, conditions, consequences, and legal purpose of the agreement (Shefrin, 2006). When preparing a contract, it is vital that the contract is clear and concise so that there is no confusion to the mutual agreement.
Since buying online generally only requires a credit card and a little information regarding identity, it can only take a few clicks of the mouse to buy nearly anything available via e-business. That is why contracts are vital to the transaction. Before anything is bought or sold, both parties understand the terms and agreements regarding the transaction. That way if any issues arise regarding payment or receiving the paid product, then contractual law will ensure the offending party will give what was promised.
Another type of dispute that is common with e-business and online transactions is the usage of copyrights, trademarks, and patents. Copyrights are the legal rights for the original creator of any given piece of work (Melvin, 2011). This makes it so that the original creator always receives credit whenever their work is used. Trademarks are similar to copyrights in the sense that it protects work from being copied or used by another individual or company (Melvin, 2011). An example would be the phoenix symbol that the University of Phoenix uses to represent itself. If any other individual or company adopted that symbol as its own, the University of Phoenix would legally be able to stop it due to its trademark rights. Patents are mainly used for new inventions or ideas. Patents (like copyrights and trademarks) ensure that the original work or idea cannot be used or borrowed from the patent holder without consent (Melvin, 2011).
No matter whether business is conducted over the internet or in-store, the law protects all parties involved. When conducting transactions and other types of business, all parties must understand the terms and agreements before anything is finalized. Otherwise, the law will have to step in and conduct any necessary actions in order to finish whatever agreement was made.
Melvin, S. P. (2011). The legal environment of business: A managerial approach: Theory to practice. New York, NY. McGraw-Hill/Irwin.
Shefrin, D. (2006). Contracts: Deal or no deal? PT, 14(7), 34-36. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/216815631?accountid=35812