The 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.
Unfair competition has been a hot topic in the media since United Airlines and travel website Orbitz filed a lawsuit in late December against the 20-something founder of Skiplagged.com, a website which helps travelers find "hidden city" airline ticketing.