Unfair competition happens when competitors are not on equal terms because of disadvantageous conditions applied to some competitors but not to others. It is also unfair when the same rules and conditions aren’t applied to all participants, or when the actions of one competitor harms the ability of others to compete. With regard to business law, unfair competition often involves deceptive, dishonest and fraudulent business practices.
Here are a few frequently asked questions and basic answers to help you understand unfair competition:
What is the relationship between unfair competition and consumer deception?
Most unfair competition cases under the federal Lanham Act involve the passing off of one’s goods for another’s. In other words, unfair competition occurs when one company tries to pass off services and goods as sponsored or affiliated with another.
Does an unfair competition case have to involve trademark infringement?
It’s advisable to have a trademark that you can protect. However, you DO NOT need to have a registered trademark in order to file an unfair competition claim. Unfair competition law is broader than trademark infringement. So, you only have to show that the other company is attempting to deceive consumers.
What is the difference between consumer confusion and false advertising?
Many unfair competition claims either involve a likelihood of confusion or false advertising. It is a considered unfair competition to use misleading advertising even if it does not constitute a trademark infringement. It is also unfair competition to purposely mislead consumers into buying your product by making them think it is affiliated with another brand.
What is the point of an unfair competition claim?
You can stop unfair competition and illegal dirty tricks by filing a claim. Your legal actions will stop future unfair practices to take place. If successful, your claim may also result in financial compensation from the at-fault party for the damages you have suffered.
Do I need an attorney?
If your competitor is utilizing unfair practices or if you have been accused of behaving fraudulently, make sure you have an experienced business lawyer on your side who will protect your business. Contact us at (800) 976-4904 to discuss your future.