Unfair Competition: Here's What You Need to Know

Business and competition go hand-in-hand, but that doesn’t mean an organization can resort to unfair business practices. A competitor’s deceptive or wrongful acts can result in monumental damage to your business. Fortunately, there are federal and state laws designed to protect the creative, intellectual and economic investments made by a business in distinguishing themselves and their products. Below we’ll discuss examples of unfair competition and how you can protect yourself.

Unfair competition is an umbrella term for several different types of economic torts. Examples of unfair competition include:

  • Trademark infringement is the unauthorized use of a trademark or service mark on or in connection with goods or services that is likely to cause confusion about their source.
  • Unauthorized substitution of one brand of goods for another is also known as “bait and switch,” in which a seller uses trademarked images on their products for financial gain.
  • Misappropriation of trade secrets includes stealing a competitor’s secrets and using them for financial gain.
  • False representation of products or services is when someone makes any materially misleading product warranty or guarantee.
  • False advertising can include exaggerated claims or straight up lies about a product or service.

State and federal laws both protect business owners when it comes to unfair competition. Courts have a number of tools to prevent this, and to restore money or property to victims of unfair competition. In California, victims can collect monetary and injunctive relief. If you’re a victim, the courts look at several factors when determining compensation, including the number of violations, the seriousness of the misconduct, the length of the deceptive acts, and the defendant’s assets, liabilities and net worth.

If you are a business owner and think another business is violating your rights, please contact our San Diego business lawyers at Purdy & Bailey, LLP today. Call (858) 360-7080 or contact us online to set up an initial consultation.