Unfair competition covers any actions that give an unfair advantage to a business. The problem is, there are a broad spectrum of activities that can fall under this term. You've probably heard of many of the trade laws that fall under unfair competition.
- False representation
- False advertising
- Antitrust violations
- Trademark infringing
- Intellectual property violations
Many more violations fall under unfair competition. Also, each of these violations fall under their own body of governing law. And there's nothing stopping anyone from bringing a lawsuit against you, even if you're unknowingly violating one of these laws.
Preventing Unfair Competition Complications
There are only so many things you can do to prevent unfair competition litigation from coming your way.
Know your competition – In essence, unfair competition only really applies to businesses and services you're in competition with. That means that you should take some time to learn about the other players in your field.
Knowing your competitors can keep you from accidentally violating their IPs. It can help you avoid doing things as they do. It will also help you to avoid false claims. For example, saying you're the only game in town because you're not aware of a competitor can still lead to that competitor pressing an unfair competition claim against you.
Make sure your services are unique – Even when two businesses operate in the same industry, or sell the same kinds of products, they can still distinguish themselves greatly. Make your logos, packaging, designs, and anything else you can think of as different from your competition as possible.
Clarity is your best weapon and defense – Always go for clarity and transparency as much as you possibly can. When you speak or release information, you should always avoid ambiguity.
One thing about unfair competition is that it often has to do with misleading people in some way. If you're clear when you communicate, then no one can say you tried to mislead or confuse with your practices or dealings.
Stay Vigilant of Others in Your Space
While a lot of this is about someone accusing you, the opposite situation can also happen. You may come across another business that's violating your IP rights or making misleading claims. When something like this occurs, you shouldn't make any hasty moves. You should immediately speak to someone proficient in the applicable laws.
Apologize, Fix It, Contact a Corporate Law Professional
In many cases, if you suspect your business is violating an unfair competition law, you should immediately have the practice stopped. If you're called out for it, apologize and make sure you fix the problem.
If any entity accuses you of any unfair competition violations, then you should immediately speak to a lawyer who deals with business or corporate law. This is even more important if it comes down to a group actually pressing a claim against you. You're going to want to know what your options are, and a business law attorney can help you best in that regard.