It is typically seen as light humor when businesses compete against each other in sign wars or on Twitter. But in actuality, there are many times when companies utilize practices that are seen as unfair to their competitors. That's why California's unfair business competition law is in place, giving business owners the right to take legal action if another business commits unfair tactics.
According to California's Business and Professions Code §§ 17200 et seq, no business shall commit "any unlawful, unfair or fraudulent business act or practice and unfair, deceptive, untrue or misleading advertising." This concept is in line with Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act which focuses on unfair or deceptive acts or practices.
Unfair or Deceptive Business Practices
Business owners can conduct unfair or deceptive business practices against their competition in many ways. Below are a few common tactics that can be classified as unfair or deceptive.
Bait-and-switch marketing is a type of deception used in advertising, where a company promises one thing (the "bait") but instead delivers something else (the "switch"). This can be done by offering a product that is unavailable or substituting a different product of lower quality.
Businesses manipulate prices in various ways, all designed to increase their profits. The most common methods include:
- Charging more for products that are in high demand or short supply;
- Creating artificial scarcity by deliberately limiting the availability of certain products; and,
- Offering discounts that are only available for a limited time.
Infringing Another Business's Intellectual Property
There are several ways in which a business can infringe another business's intellectual property, including:
- Copying or imitating another company's products or branding;
- Using someone else's copyrighted material without permission; and,
- Creating a name or logo that is similar to another company's trademarked brand.
Business owners wishing to file a claim against a business for unfair or deceptive practices must take action within four years of the alleged incident.
The California Unfair Business Competition Lawyers at Purdy & Bailey, LLP
If you believe that you have been the victim of another business's unfair or deceptive practices or are accused of committing these actions yourself, it is important to speak to an experienced San Diego business litigation attorney. Purdy & Bailey, LLP can help you understand your legal rights and options and can represent you in court if necessary. Contact us today so we can review your case. (858) 360-7080