3 TortSource 1 (2000-2001)

handle is hein.journals/tortso3 and id is 1 raw text is: Vol. 3, No. 1
Fall 2000

American Bar Association

How Today's Evolving World is
Changing the Face of Trespass
Charles J. Morton, Jr.
he dawn of the twenty-first century has arrived with all the fanfare deserved by a
millennium. During this historic time, particularly when coupled with unparal-
economic opportunity and expansion, it is easy to become awestruck by the
pace of technological and economic change. In becoming dazzled, one can lose per-
spective on the admittedly impressive technological changes and the economy they
have spawned.
This article examines some of the changes that have occurred in our economy, par-
ticularly with respect to how intellectual property is driving the new economy, and
attempts to put some of these changes into historical perspective. The changes are
observed by examining a series of recent trespass cases involving intellectual proper-
ty and technological issues.
For an injury to be subject to remedy in tort, it must be translated into economic
terms. Therefore, as wealth and sources of wealth evolve, the fact patterns giving rise
to tort actions also change. This occurs not simply because people are doing new or
different things. On the contrary, people could be doing different things that have no
impact on wealth and impact tort actions only modestly When there is a funda-
mental shift in how wealth is created, however, it necessarily will change the way
injuries are translated into causes of action.
The Evolution of Wealth
One area that has seen drastic change over the past 100 years is wealth. There is
now far more of it, created in more amorphous ways, than could have been imagined
at the turn of the last century We have shifted from an economy where things were
made to one where things are known. The pace of this change appears to have
reached a climax.
According to Building Wealth by Lester C. Thurow, over the past fifteen years, the
United States has created more billionaires than ever in its history. By the end of
1998, 176 fortunate Americans joined the 13 American billionaires of 1982. To be
&continued on page 4

Net Effect-Part I

Suzy Bibko
o  u know what a URL is? Have you tried a trespass case involving spam? Is your
firow a dot.corn as well as an inc.? Is your state courtroom state of the art? Has UETA
adopted? Are your clients considering settling (their claims) in cyberspace?
Believe it or not, these are all relevant questions facing lawyers today Technology has
changed the face of the law forever. To be a successful lawyer, you no longer need to know
legalese; rather, technospeak and computerese are required. Technology and the Internet
have already brought many of us more business, convenience, and information, but they
also bring more competition, new types of torts, and confusion. The Fall and Winter issues
of TortSource examine some of the issues surrounding lawyers and technology-and hope
to give you an idea of what lies ahead.
The Internet:
A Disruptive Technology for
Lawyers, Law Firms, and
Insurance Companies

n his book The Innovator's Dilemma,
Pofessor Clayton Christensen of the
11arvard Business School identified dis-
ruptive technology as the root cause for
business failures of otherwise successful
and excellently managed companies open-
ly committed to technological improve-
ment of goods and services.
For those of us who remember the
introduction of word processing to law
firms, the fact that Wang Laboratories of
Lowell, Massachusetts, could ever disap-
pear is still hard to accept. Wang totally
dominated the word-processing industry,
with law firms of every size committed to
its scalable central processing unit and
dumb terminals that used the computing
power of the CPU. Then, in an instant,

Richard P. Campbell
Wang was gone, and small desktop com-
puters distributed by the likes of Apple
and Compac took its place.
Wang is one example among many
others: Digital Equipment Company, Data
General, Compugraphic.    As Professor
Clayton documents in his book, experi-
enced teams who invested significant time
and resources in research and develop-
ment managed these companies. How,
then, did they squander their market dom-
inance? Better yet, why did smaller, mar-
ginally capitalized companies topple the t-
rexes of their industry segments? Professor
Clayton explains that emerging companies
were willing to use new technology that
continued on page 7


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