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Trespass to Chattels Case - Paper Example

2 pages
472 words
Wesleyan University
Type of paper: 
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Trespass to chattel is the civil case under tort where one person intentionally infringes the lawful right of possession of a chattel of another person. The infringement of the right of possession may be in the form of dispossession of a chattel either through destruction, blocking the owner from free access or even taking it (Omega World Travel, Inc. v. Mummagraphics, 2006). The law of trespass is enforceable in court only when the actual damage can be shown by the plaintiff or else it is not considered as trespass to chattel. Printing coupons with the accounting mechanism disabled commit trespass to chattels because John Stottlemire intentionally created software that disabled the counting mechanism without obtaining the consent of Coupons, Inc that offers online, limited printable coupons to consumers. There is a trespass to chattel because the defendant had physical contact with the chattel in a quantifiable manner by creating software that physically impairs the normal functioning of the software.

Furthermore, it is easy to determine the actual harm which the plaintiff suffered from when defendant created software that disabled counting mechanism which allowed Coupons, Inc to print an unlimited number of coupons. It is therefore deemed as a trespass because the software created by John Stottlemire interferes with the target of computer operations. This can easily be demonstrated by Coupons, Inc because there was an actual impairment of the normal functioning of the software. Finally, there was an intention to interfere with the right of possession of Coupon Inc. This was because after introducing the software that disabled the counting mechanism, the defendants went ahead and distribute the software to other people. The plaintiff wanted to intermeddle with the chattel so that the coupon Inc software that creates counting mechanism is impaired (Kirschbaum v. McLaurin Parking Co, 2008). Because this case contains all element of trespass to chattel including intent, lack of consent of the owner and interference to chattel, it is therefore considered as a trespass to chattel.

Case Law between eBay, Inc. v. Bidder's Edge, Inc

Ebay is an auction website where the sellers list items for sale while Bidders Edge allows buyers to search for items on the site of eBay. Bidders Edge extracted information from the computers using a robot search program. EBay sued Bidders Edge for extracting its information without their authority. The court determined that Bidders Edge collected information from the computers of eBay without their authority. It was also confirmed that it has an intention to extract the information but had no intention to harm the eBay. This case is different from Coupons, Inc vs John Stottlemire which has an intention to interfere with the normal functioning of the accounting mechanism of the software.


Kirschbaum v. McLaurin Parking Co., 188 N.C. App. 782 (N.C. Ct. App. 2008).

Omega World Travel, Inc. v. Mummagraphics, Inc., 469 F.3d 348 (4th Cir. Va. 2006).

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