For businesses large and small, one of the keys to success is having access to a fair and equitable marketplace. If you are an entrepreneur, you should be able to create and promote your goods and services without infringement from a competitor, but in today’s economy, that isn’t always honored. As more businesses are clamoring for a piece of the sales pie, ethical boundaries are sometimes crossed, and if your company is the victim of deceptive or wrongful business practices, you may be entitled to legal intervention. However, many people are not sure what constitutes a real threat, and when they should contact a Beverly Hills unfair competition attorney.
Here is a brief overview of what is considered “unfair competition” under California law:
- Trademark infringement
When another business uses a slogan or symbol that you have claimed for your company, this may be a case of trademark infringement. Your unique markings set you apart from others, and your competitors should not be able to use them for their own profit.
- Misappropriation of trade secrets
In many industries, trade secrets are vital to keeping one’s product or service unique and marketable. This may be your special cake recipe, a chemical formula, a mathematical algorithm, or something else. You can protect your intellectual property from theft or re-sale.
- False advertising
If someone misrepresents their product or service with inflated claims, they may be in violation of unfair competition laws. Exaggerating the benefits of one product to differentiate it from the competitors’ similar products is deceptive and known as false advertising.
- Substitution of goods
Sometimes called a “bait and switch,” the unauthorized substitution of goods before and after sale can be a serious legal violation. This may happen when a particular brand or product is advertised and sold, but the version that customers receive is different, and often of lesser quality.
- False representation
Similar to false advertising, false representation gives the buyer unfounded security or hope about the product or service in question. Often this comes in the form of a false warranty, satisfaction guarantee, sponsorship, or certification of quality/origin.
- Trade defamation
When a competitor releases information such as written or oral communications, with the intent of harming your business or your company’s reputation, you may be able to file a trade defamation lawsuit. This is considered libelous, and can be a serious crime.
Does your business need help staying afloat in the face of unfair competition? Reach out to Monterrosa Law today and ask for your request a consultation.