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The commercial realm: not every participant plays fair

Jun 11, 2021 | Business Litigation

It’s one thing when a major business rival continues to outpace you by delivering superior products and service.

It’s quite another when that competitive advantage is fueled by cheating.

The former is just a tough-luck-to-you scenario. The latter spells deceptive and wrongful commercial behavior that can be lawfully challenged by a harmed business via litigation providing for comprehensive and meaningful remedies.

Unfair competition: What does it entail?

Although a court will not customarily employ that above-cited “cheating” reference, that is essentially what unfair business competition is all about. An implied playing field exists for participants, along with judicial recognition that a company’s successes should owe to practices perceived to be fair within the context of a business setting.

To wit: It is OK to dominate the competition and your industry niche because of your superior business plan, perfect timing in introducing a new product or employment of top-notch talent.

Conversely, rivals have a legal right to call foul against a competitor who transcends the bounds of accepted commercial behavior. One in-depth legal overview of unfair competition spotlights some examples of that, including these:

  • Infringement of a rival’s profitable trademark to confuse the public and siphon off customers
  • Stealing of a competitor’s trade secret or other proprietary information/data
  • “Bait and switch” tactics that prominently tout one product to consumers and then replace it with an inferior good
  • Making material misrepresentations concerning warranties and performance
  • False advertising (e.g., this pill will cure cancer)

Unfair competition falls within the realm of so-called “business torts,” which are commercial taboos punishable by law. Wrongdoing and resulting remedies are addressed under a broad panoply of protective legislation. The above overview stresses that unfair competition is regulated “through a combination of federal and state laws.”

Safeguarding against unfair competition: available remedies

Many states, including California, enable a wronged commercial plaintiff to seek both money damages and injunctive remedies, respectively. Losses suffered can be fully recouped, and a court can order a violator to stop committing tortious behavior.

Questions or concerns regarding business torts or any other types of unlawful commercial behavior can be directed to a results-oriented legal team with deep experience in litigation and transactional matters.