Can I sue my boss for being cheap and selling off brand cereals at a self-serve frozen yogurt store and lableing and claiming them as name brand cereals.
Divorce / Separation Lawyer
No, you cannot sue. What harm have you come to by virtue of your boss selling knockoff cereal? Do you want to keep you job or just get back at your boss?
Well, actually you can sue. Anyone can sue anyone else. but aside from spending money and making a fool of yourself, what else do you think you could accomplish?
Patent Infringement Attorney
You need to have been damaged or had your rights violates in order to sue, otherwise you lack standing. The brand name cereal companies would have standing to sue for trademark infringement and counterfeiting (as examples). Deceived consumers may have standing to sue depending on the laws of your state. In NJ, the Consumer Fraud Act permits the Attorney General to sue.
What you do depends on your goals. For example, if you want to take the moral high road, you may want to tell your boss that what he is doing is illegal and could get him in trouble. But unless you are an officer with a fiduciary duty to the company, you probably do not have any obligation to do anything.
The statements and views expressed in this posting are my own and do not reflect those of my law firm, are intended for general informational purposes only, and do not constitute legal advice or legal opinion. This information is intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon without independent consultation and evaluation by an attorney. This information does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please consult an attorney if you have any questions about the subject matter of the information above.
2 lawyers agree
Intellectual Property Law Attorney
No. Why would you think you would have a claim against your boss? You have a duty of loyalty to your boss. The owner of the trademarks for the brand cereals have good claims against your boss, and consumers who are ripped off have good claims against your boss---but you have no standing to complain.
A more interesting question is whether you have a duty to notify law enforcement or the trademark owners about the illegal activity of your boss. If you were a lawyer, and you had knowledge of ongoing criminal activity, in many states you would be obligation to notify law enforcement about such ongoing criminal activity. Since you are not lawyer, you may have no legal obligation to notify law enforcement.
Further, you are making a big assumption that may not be true---that your boss does not have permission from the brand cereal owners to engage in this activity. If it turns out that your allegations against your boss are false, you could be liable for damages for engaging in defamatory conduct. Certainly if you are serious about pursuing this matter, you should retain legal counsel to handle this in a way that keeps you out of trouble.
Patent Application Attorney
Yes, in America you can sue anyone for anything. You can also get thrown out of court and have attorneys fees awarded against you. You can also be fired and get a negative job evaluation. If you boss is truly passing off cereals as the name brand, write an anonymous letter to the company that owns the cereal brand and let them deal with it.
This is not legal advice. Even if it were, fee legal advice is worth what you pay for it. The facts of every case are different and should be addressed by a competent attorney who has all of the facts.