What Constitutes Unfair Competition?
The law of unfair competition is used to protect against deceptive business practices that impede the promotion of an honest and healthy competitive market. Businesses spend copious amounts of time, energy, and creativity to build their brand, establish their customer base, and secure trade secrets. For this reason, federal law provides protections for business entities under the Lanham Act. These protections afford businesses the right to offer products and services in their own unique way without the concern of imitation from competitors. This imitation is commonly seen in two forms—trademark infringement and misappropriation. Trademark infringement involves the illegal use of a trademark on a competing product in an attempt to cause confusion, while misappropriation addresses unauthorized use of a business’ intangible assets.
Commonly, unfair competition is seen as an attempt to pass off one product as another in order to trick or confuse the consumer. This illegal merchandising inhibits a fair market and can cause significant harm to a business’ customer base, all while defrauding the consumer. This is the most frequent case of unfair competition, the term encompasses a broad arena of actions that cause unfair economic injury or violate honest trade practices.
Acts of Unfair Competition
Under the Federal Trade Commission, deceptive business practices are prohibited to ensure protection from economic injury for both a business and their consumers. Common acts that constitute unfair competition include:
- False advertising
- “Bait and switch” selling tactics
- Theft of trade secrets
- Trade libel
- Breach of restrictive content
- False representation of products or services
Any business practice that is otherwise meant to mislead, cause confusion, or impede the integrity of the market can be argued to fall under unfair competition.
Contact an Unfair Competition Attorney
Violations of the law of unfair competition can cause irrevocable damage to a business that may be difficult to recuperate from. If your business has been threatened by unfair competition, the dedicated unfair competition lawyers at Gagnon, Peacock & Vereeke, P.C., can provide an aggressive defense on your behalf. Don’t hesitate to contact our Dallas offices at (214) 824-1414 to discuss the details of your case.