Unfair competition occurs when a business acts in a manner that is not in accordance with the law or acts in an unethical, immoral manner. As a result of these practices, the offending business does not compete on equal terms with its competitors.
Unfair competition can harm both consumers and competitors, and both groups may file lawsuits against the offending business.
What Constitutes Unfair Competition?
Unfair competition refers to business actions that are not in accordance with state and local laws, including antitrust laws. Unfair competition can also constitute actions which are not explicitly illegal, but which are deemed immoral or unfair. Any number of “dirty tricks” may constitute unfair competition. If a competitor appears to be engaging in shady practices, it is worth investigating.
Some examples of unfair competition include:
- Below-cost sales
- Misuse of intellectual property
- Price fixing
- Running advertisements that spread false or slanderous information about competitors
- Misrepresenting products to consumers
- Holding employee contracts with unreasonable non-competition clauses
- Treating consumers in a discriminatory manner
What Remedies Are Available?
Unfair competition can result in substantial losses for the offending party’s competitors. In an unfair competition lawsuit, the party filing the suit must prove that the defendant engaged in unfair competition and that those actions resulted in tangible damages. If these conditions are met, the injured party may be entitled to remedies including:
- Refunds to consumers of revenue from the unfair practice
- A court order to stop performing the practice
- Damages for the slanderous representations
In addition, the business may be ordered to pay government fines.
LaGarde Law Firm represents clients facing unfair competition under a contingency fee system. Instead of charging legal fees as the case progresses, we receive a portion of the settlement check. Clients pay no up-front costs. In addition to our fee, we are reimbursed for court costs and other expenses that we have incurred on our client’s behalf.
If you are a victim of unfair competition, the first step is to consult with a skilled, experienced attorney. LaGarde Law Firm would be happy to meet with you for a free, no-obligation consultation.