With today’s technology, owning almost any type of business can be challenging — endless (and perhaps less expensive) options are accessible with the click of a button and with international shipping, geography does not limit consumers. Indeed, almost anything can be shipped from anywhere and businesses are scrambling to keep up. With the higher stakes that global competition causes, business practices that border on unfair competition can emerge in the marketplace.

According to chapter 5 and section 17200 of the California Business and Professional Code, “unfair competition shall mean and include any unlawful, unfair or fraudulent business act or practice and unfair, deceptive, untrue or misleading advertising.” When unfair competition occurs in a market, immediate monetary damage can effect numerous companies competing in the same industry. There are many different forms of unfair competition that can affect the success of your business and if you believe you are a victim of such unlawful practices, you should contact an experienced business attorney immediately.

False Advertising

False advertising is a form of unfair competition because it is a deceptive business tactic that purposely misleads customers about a product being sold. If you own a company that sells a specific good in a highly competitive market, it might not be uncommon for you to notice that others may use fraudulent marketing tactics to promise the impossible.

An example of false advertising in the marketplace would be if you and your competitor are selling a vitamin that promotes good bone health, but your competitor choses to advertise the product as a pill that will make the consumer grow five inches if they consume it on a regular basis.  This false advertisement will give your competitor an unfair advantage due to a false promise presented to the consumer that will most likely cause monetary loss to your business.

Misrepresentation of goods or services

When a company is selling a product without providing an accurate description of the item, they are partaking in the misrepresentation of a good or service whether it was out of negligence or not. It is important that a business is not deceiving the consumer when it comes to the sale of goods. If your competitor is selling a product similar to yours but made out of a cheaper material that allows them to provide the good at a lower price, but they list the item as being made from the same material as your product, then they are engaging in misrepresentation.  Their false description tricks the consumer into believing they are receiving a better price for the same exact product if they buy from their company.

Do not let one business’s misrepresentation of goods and services effect the sales of your product.  Contact the business lawyers at Hardin Law Group, APC today to protect your company from suffering a profit loss due to unfair competition.

Bait and Switch

The bait and switch is a common tactic of unfair competition.  When consumers are buying products online from a corporation that is not exclusive to any brands and sells items that are not singular to any industry, products run the risk of being inauthentic.  These multi platform marketplaces allow room for sellers to take advantage of their consumers by displaying items as a specific brand, however when the consumer receives the item it is not in fact the brand they paid for. This type of unfair competition generates revenue for companies that substitute one brand for another without clarification or authorization.

Trademark Infringement

Trademarks are an important aspect of branding a business. Brands are unique, easily marketable, and have the ability to create notoriety amongst your consumers.   Establishing a successful brand that is protected by trademark allows for your business to stand separate from your competitors.

When others attempt to infringe upon the creativity of your brand it cuts into your company’s revenue and creates unfair competition.  Don’t allow others to profit off of your hard work.  Call an attorney as soon as your trademark is threatened.  Immediate action can be made to keep your brand safe.

Misuse of Trade secrets

Unfair competition can occur when there is a misappropriation of trade secrets. In our digital age, the ability to conceal a company’s trade secrets from competitors has become evermore challenging. With the increase in competition, companies can grow more desperate to rise above others in the industry to keep their company profitable.  As a response, some companies can choose to go after the trade secrets of others by targeting their employees.

Instead of protecting papers from getting into the wrong hands, it is now digital files that can easily be placed on a USB.  It is important to protect your information and there are many strategies that can be used as preventative measures, however it is crucial to contact an attorney to secure the safety of your trade secrets.

What Next

There are multiple remedies that can be implemented by the Courts to stop companies from participating in unfair competition. In California, monetary damages can be recovered if your company has suffered as a result of your competitors practicing deceptive business tactics.  Contact Hardin Law Group, APC today for a free case evaluation.