Those who have suffered due to another business’s unfair competition tactics, can turn to Virginia Unfair Competition Attorneys at MartinWren, P.C. for representation. We understand how the sketchy actions of a business can cause damage to others who are operating within the business world with integrity and fairness. We encourage you to talk with a member of our legal team right away before you sustain any more loss.
Unfair Competition Defined
Unfair competition is a general tort that can take several forms. One type of unfair competition refers to those actions which are meant to confuse the consumer as to the source of the product. For example, such source confusion can result from misrepresentation – passing off a product as another’s – or from misappropriation – passing off another’s product as one’s own.
When a company uses deceptive strategies to raise their advantage over other businesses, this is considered unfair competition. In most cases, unfair competition occurs when a business intentionally misleads consumers about the product, such as where it came from, how it was made, or any other details. If you believe another company has committed any of the following forms of unfair competition, we encourage you to contact our VA Unfair Competition Attorneys immediately:
- Below-cost selling
- Counterfeiting or Imitation
- Trade libel, slander, or rumors that harm another company’s reputation
- Substitution of a brand of products/goods for another without authorization
- Misrepresenting source of product through failing to notify consumers about who created it (removing mark from the good/product then selling)
- Reverse passing off
- False representation of product capabilities
- Breach of non-compete clause or restrictive covenant
- Violation of trade dress
- Copying the appearance of product or packaging with intention to trick the consumer into purchasing
- Stealing competitor’s trade secrets or confidential information
- False advertising or claims about product
- Bait-and-switch (substituting a lower-cost product for a high-quality product of another brand)
More on Deceptive Practices
These deceptive practices are commonly accomplished by imitating or counterfeiting distinctive and recognizable peculiarities of a product. For instance, one may imitate shapes, colors, labels, wrappers, and general appearances of packaging in a way to mislead the general public or deceive unwary purchasers into purchasing an imitation product. Unfair Competition Attorneys from Virginia are aware that deceptive practices are not just limited to products either. Such unfair competition can also occur with store fronts, advertisements, or the wrongful imitation of the look and feel of retail establishments, restaurants, or other businesses that have created a marketed and recognizable brand.
The Public Can Be Impacted
In light of these various forms of prohibited conduct, the essence of an unfair competition claim is that one business has engaged in conduct that is so unfair that it tends to hurt not just a competitor, but also the general public at large. After all, the free market depends on the free flow of information about products and services, and the public is harmed when it is misled about another business’s product in a way that interferes with the true understanding of a product or service. Such conduct is so improper that a court needs to stop it with injunctive relief or award damages to protect consumers in the commercial market.
An additional type of unfair competition encompasses all forms of unfair trade practices and processes used to sell products. Such unfair practices include false advertising, “bait and switch” selling tactics, unauthorized substitution of one brand of goods for another, theft of trade secrets, and breach of a restrictive employment covenant including covenants not to solicit, compete, or disclose. If you have witnessed a business participating in this behavior, contact Unfair Competition Attorneys in VA without hesitation. These dishonest tactics can confuse customers into making buying decisions based on untrue or improper information.
Honest, unfettered competition is the cornerstone of any free market economy, and this is certainly true in the United States. Both federal and state laws are crafted to promote and encourage fair competition and to allow businesses to succeed and grow by fulfilling unmet needs in the marketplace. There are also common laws that seek to ensure that business competition remains fair and honest. One such type of common law is the business tort known as “unfair competition.” As its name implies, unfair competition is a business tort that provides civil relief when economic harm occurs to a business through a deceptive or wrongful business practice.
Importance of Unfair Competition Laws
Unfair Competition Attorneys located in Virginia from MartinWren, P.C. understand how important state laws are when it comes to protecting the integrity of business operations. Unfortunately, even with state laws some business may still try to find a way to use less-than-honorable tactics to get ahead of competitors. That is why it is also crucial to have an experienced lawyer on your side, to safeguard the business you have created from those who don’t don’t operate with good-natured practices. Unfair competition laws serve the following purposes:
- Preserving goodwill among customers and between businesses
- Protecting economic, creative, and intellectual investments made by owners of businesses
- Increasing respectful competition between companies of related industries through better goods and services incentives
- Discouraging businesses from stealing ideas from others
- Promoting reliability and clarity for consumers who purchase products or services
Without laws in place, it would be almost impossible to establish a company while setting oneself apart from others. It would be more difficult for consumers too, who would have a hard time finding loyalty to one brand or another if very similar products aren’t marketed clearly and honestly. Notify our VA Unfair Competition Attorneys if you know of a business that has been unfairly competing with others, as they may have to pay you financial compensation for any losses you faced.
Our unfair competition lawyers are well versed in the legal issues involved in unfair competition cases, and we are prepared to help you defend your rights. If you or your business have suffered harm due to another’s unfair competition or if you have been wrongfully accused of harming others business, call Virginia Unfair Competition Attorneys at MartinWren Law, P.C. at 434-817-3100 and ask for Robert E. Byrne, Jr. or John B. Simpson.