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Unfair Competition and Legal Remedies

Business Competition.jpgThe business environment in the United States can be a ruthless place. Companies that sell similar goods and services to a particular market often spend millions of dollars competing with one another over customers and may even go as far as to engage in conduct that many people would find morally reprehensible if it occurred between individuals. Competition in business often benefits consumers by improving products and lowering prices, so, to some extent, it is encouraged. On the other hand, there are some types of business competition that are blatantly deceptive or amount to theft and, as such, are prohibited by state and federal law.

When a business is the victim of unfair competition, it can often recover for the losses it has sustained through a lawsuit. Some of the more common forms of competition are discussed below.

  • Trademark Infringement - Trademark infringement is one of the most common types of unfair competition that often occurs in today's business environment. A trademark is a symbol, phrase, word, or design that identifies that the source of goods or services, and infringement occurs when another party uses that trademark or one that is virtually indistinguishable from it in order to sell products or services of the same type as the rightful trademark owner sells. When this occurs, the trademark owner may file an action in order to recover for its losses. In some cases, trademark infringement may actually result in criminal liability, as well.
  • Trade libel - Trade libel occurs when a party publishes false statements regarding the quality of the goods or services that company provides, which results in financial loss to that company. Importantly, in this context, "published" means any communication made to the general public, meaning that it could include an Internet advertisement as well as a radio spot.

These are just two examples of the kinds of conduct that could potentially result in a cause of action based on unfair trade practices. If successful, business harmed by these kinds of practices can pursue both injunctive and pecuniary remedies. An injunctive remedy involves a court order directing a party to refrain from engaging in certain conduct - for example, to stop using a particular trademark or to pull a libelous advertisement from publication. The pecuniary remedy would operate to compensate the injured party for any losses that it sustained as a result of the defendant's actions.

Contact a San Jose Business Law Firm Today to Schedule a Case Evaluation

Each year, thousands of businesses are victimized by unfair competition and trade practices by competitors. Fortunately, legal redress is often available. The San Jose business attorneys of Diemer, Whitman & Cardosi, LLP are skilled litigators who each have at least 25 years of courtroom experience. To schedule a consultation with one of our lawyers, call our office today at 408-971-6270

Sources:

http://www.uspto.gov/trademark

https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/injunction

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