The unfair competition business practices that have caused economic injury to your company falls under a blanket term that covers unfair tactics. This ranges anywhere from stealing proprietary information to misleading customers. We live in a free economy where deceptive and unfair business practices come with consequences. Instead of fairly competing, sometimes businesses have taken it too far. It’s true that the right to compete has importance and value to our economy, but we still need fair business practices.
Some of your most common examples include trade defamation, trademark infringement and misappropriation of trade secrets. False advertising is another practice that is frowned upon. When it comes to trademarks, this has also become another form of unfair competition laws. Trademark has the purpose of identifying the brand of a product. This becomes entirely about market trust. If the competition tries to associate dishonest information with your brand, it can unwittingly erode the trust that the market has in your brand, and that’s what trademark infringement has been designed for.
The competition doesn’t have a right to make unfair statements or deceptive statements about their products and business. Trade secrets have turned into the second most common part of unfair business practices. The harsh reality is that the competitors will work hard in an effort to learn your most valuable trade secrets. Next, they might reverse engineer a product, which is considered acceptable. However, you do have cases where it classifies as unfair competition. These are cases where you might have legal weight in the court system. Some of the possible examples of this include eavesdropping, impersonating an employee or stealing information from the competitor is illegal. This classifies as unfair competition. Another problem is how once a competitor has discovered a trade secret, it no longer becomes a secret. When the competition uses unfair means of getting this information, you might be protected by the law.
What’s the remedy to unfair competition? Some of the remedies that you might seek for these practices include injunctions to order this party to cease their unfair business practices and compensation for the damages that led to the economic injury. Fairness has become the bedrock upon which all business sits on within a free country, and whenever companies overstep their boundaries on this, you have a legal right to protect your business. If you have experience unfair competition from a competitor, you should let an attorney resolve this problem because they have the legal understanding to handle it.
In every state, you have laws that protect the customer by keeping businesses from taking part in unfair business practices. The scope of this protection will depend on the language within the statute, but in New York, under Section 349, they classify this as when a business engages in deceptive practices that damage another business. What happens if your business gets sued by another business from a different state? In many cases, the existing federal laws will take over because you tend to have a lot of commonality across the board with these laws. When you look at deceptive trade practices, the New York General Business Law covers most of the economic activity. For example, the state attorney general could take action against the unlawful acts of a business to get restitution for the lost property. In addition, the attorney general can give notice to the business that has been accused, and this gives the accused business five days to show a reason in writing why the business practices weren’t illegal.
Injured people also have a right to file private lawsuits against the company that engages in deceptive practice to recover from their damages under Section 349. When a company has a willful understanding that what they did was wrong, the court can raise the monetary damage award up to as much as $1,000 but no more than that. If an individual files a private lawsuit, they must show that three things happened:
Some of the possible defenses for one of these cases might be that the wronged business didn’t act within three years of the last deceptive practice. Another defense is that the practice had no negative effect on the public, and as a result, the victim business didn’t suffer harm. It could also be that the action itself wasn’t misleading. You might also have a complete defense based on the Federal Trade Commission if the rules and regulations were followed and no actual harm was done.
If you’re a business that has been targeted by the attorney general, we can help. We can also help you if you were a business that was wronged because of unfair competition practices. We have the ability to mount a vigorous defense or take aggressive action against unlawful business practices. We look at the different laws to figure out what will help you the most.
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