Are you involved in an unfair competition claim, or have you been wronged and want to file a claim? If so, you may be trying to figure out what this means to you and what you can do about it.

What is Unfair Competition?

From a legal perspective, unfair competition is a type of tort. A tort is a wrongful act or infringement on a right, leading to a legal issue.

Unfair competition is a tort that causes economic harm to either a business or a person in the commercial world. The tort must have been caused by a business practice that was wrongful or deceptive in some way. One of the most common types of unfair competition torts involves customer confusion. For example, false advertising is considered unfair competition.

Unfair competition can include a number of more specific torts. A few examples are trademark infringement, trade libel, misrepresentation of goods or services, or an unauthorized substitution of one product or service brand for another.

Based on the above, an unfair competition claim is when one party is taking legal action against another. Here are a few examples of the types of claims we’ll see.

Examples of Unfair Competition

Hypothetically, let’s say Acme Inc. decided to get a competitive edge by making false statements about Widget Inc.’s products. They spread the new marketing message everywhere – on their website, in advertisements, on social media, on signs in retail stores, etc.

Widget Inc. isn’t happy about the fact their products are getting dragged through the mud. The worst part is the statements aren’t even true. To deal with the situation, they bring in an attorney to file an unfair competition claim due to product disparagement.

Or let’s say Acme Inc. got their hands on a blueprint of Widget Inc.’s latest product and decided to use it for their monetary gain. This would be an example of misappropriation of trade secrets.

Here is another example. Maybe someone decided to launch an Amazon store selling computer mice. They order mice from a manufacturer in bulk and then send them to Amazon to sell individually for a profit.

This would be fine except for one thing – the person decides that to sell the mice faster, they’ll have the manufacturer make the mouse look like a Microsoft-branded mouse. The packaging and mouse itself say it’s a Microsoft product… but it’s really not.

The product line takes off because it’s a well-known brand name. The problem is that it’s trademark infringement, as the person had no right to use the Microsoft name and logo. They then get hit with an unfair competition claim due to trademark infringement.

Conclusion

If you have been wronged in some way and think an unfair competition claim is in order, give us a call at 714.456.9118. We’ll talk through the situation with you and recommend a course of action.

If you are the defendant and someone has filed a claim against you, reach out to us as soon as possible at 714.456.9118 or send us an email at info@voneschlaw.com. We’ll get up to speed on the situation and help any way we can.

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