Unfair Competition and False Advertising
(Cal. Bus. & Prof Code 17200 and 17500)
Commercial Law is Meant to Promote Fair Competition
Fair competition in California’s commercial markets is considered a legal, and often wonderful, thing. Healthy competition can encourage providers of goods and services to improve quality and value, and gives customers greater selection. Unfair competition, on the hand, is disallowed. And, it’s worth noting, being on the giving or receiving end of such activity can mean the end of your business.
What is unfair competition? According to the California Business and Professions Code, unfair competition is when an individual or business commits “any unlawful, unfair or fraudulent business act or practice and unfair, deceptive, untrue or misleading advertising and any act prohibited [by law].”
Nexio attorneys have handled a number of cases for clients who have been harmed by, or accused of engaging in, unfair competition. Situations where these accusations arise include:
Trademark, trade name, and trade dress: Using intellectual property like trademarks or other business likenesses without permission to misrepresent the business and confuse customers into thinking they’re purchasing goods and services from a different company.
Trade secrets: Using confidential information–such as trade secrets, technology or customer data—to start up a competitive business and/or steal customers.
Confidential or privileged information: Taking confidential information (see above) after leaving a former employer and using that information to do work for a different employer.
False advertising: Also known as deceptive advertising, this involves the use of confusing, misleading or blatantly untrue statements to misrepresent the nature, characteristics, origin or other qualities of a company’s goods, services or commercial activities.
If You’ve Been Affected by Unfair Competition or False Advertising, Take Action!
When people hear the term “unfair competition,” they often think things like anti-trust, monopolization, transfer pricing schemes, sham transactions, or shameless “copy cat” businesses.
But unfair competition is not limited to those acts. Often, it comes in a much more subtle form of economic injury (tort), such as intellectual property misuse and less-than-straightforward business transactions.
If you’re a victim of unfair competition or false advertising—or have been accused of harming someone else through similar actions—you need to put a damage control plan in place.
Start by calling Nexio Law Firm.