Unfair Competition Law



Unfair Competition Laws are designed to protect consumers and businesses alike against deceptive business practices. Some common examples of unfair competitive practices in commercial law include: trademark infringements, trade defamation, and misappropriation of business trade secrets. As pertains to consumers, unfair competition laws usually prevent unfair pricing strategies, like gouging, and false or misleading representations.

Trademark Infringement

One common form of unfair competition is a violation of the exclusive rights attached to a trademark without the permission of the trademark owner. Infringement may take place when one party, the "infringer," uses a trademark which is indistinguishable or astonishingly similar to a trademark owned by another party, in relation to products or services which are identical or similar to the products or services which the registration covers. The owner of the trademark may launch civil legal proceedings against the infringing party and, pursuant to the Trademark Counterfeiting Act of 1984, some acts of trademark infringement may even be punished as a crime. Common examples of trademark infringements include counterfeit products, like knock-off handbags, watches, and bootlegged movies.

Trade Defamation

Trade defamation is an intentional, false communication, either written or spoken, that harms a business/person's reputation. This false communication must decrease the respect, regard, or confidence in which the business or person is held, or induce disparaging, hostile, or disagreeable opinions or feelings against the business or person. While most trade defamation is a civil matter, in a few instances it can become criminal. Trade defamation can also include both written statements, known as libel, and spoken statements, called slander.

If you have questions about unfair competition, you can use the resources found below to further research the topic. Similarly, should you have further questions or need the assistance of an attorney, you can find one in your location who can help you with your unfair competition issues by looking at our Law Firms page.

Copyright HG.org


Know Your Rights!

Articles on Hg.org Related to Unfair Competition Law

  • Resale Price Maintenance, Horizontal Conspiracies, and Antitrust Law
    If you are looking for controversy, you came to the right place. Today, we discuss resale price maintenance, one of the most contentious issues in all of antitrust. If you look around and see a bunch of antitrust economists, hide your screen so they donít start arguing with each other. Trust me; that is the last thing you want to experience.
  • Anti-SLAPP Motions in California
    The U.S. court system handles a vast array of civil lawsuits, from small personal or business disputes to massive corporate matters. In any system of this size, abuses are bound to happen. One notable abuse of the judicial system involves the strategic use of meritless lawsuits, known as SLAPPs, to silence or suppress dissent, criticism, or certain other constitutionally protected activities. California law provides strong protections for businesses and people who are subjects of a SLAPP.
  • Unfair Competition Cases Involving Trademark Infringement
    Trademark infringement is a serious offense to a company with an established brand with a long member in the publicís eye. However, when the opposing entity causes the business from consumers to shift over and start leaving the brand, this could complicate matters and end in litigation for unfair competition practices.
  • Illinois Statute Regarding Unfair Competition
    Understanding state laws regarding unfair competition is essential when living in that specific state, and in Illinois, this could affect what behavior a business engages in when competing with another company. In this state, it is important to safeguard and protect against these practices as proposed by both federal and state regulations.
  • Intentional Interference with Economic Relationships and Unfair Competition
    When a company engages in intentional unfair competition practices that seek to redirect or alter an economic relationship that interferes with accruing revenue, the business may face serious charges and possible damages owed to the other entity. The company must prove that the business did knowingly engage in such behavior to harm incoming profits.
  • What Source of Laws Addresses Unfair Competition?
    When learning how to deal with unfair competition practices, it is important to know what laws address these matters in the courts and how to deal with the issues the behavior causes to the companies. Knowing the source material is beneficial to the lawyer in leading the case, sticking liability to the defendant and pursuing compensation for the victim.
  • Examples of Unfair Competition against Small Businesses
    Unfair competition against smaller businesses causes severe devastation to the owner and company when facing a larger corporation or a non-profit organization. The behavior and activities that these other entities engage in may cripple the small business and take away entire revenues streams to the point that the company breaks.
  • How Do Non-Profits Engage in Unfair Competition Measures?
    Any type of redirecting consumer traffic and sales away from a business is part of unfair competition practices and activity, and even certain non-profit organizations engage in these situations sometimes. It is important to know when this occurs and how it affects the company so that the owner is able to pursue legal action when the offense is serious enough.
  • How Do Unfair Compensation and Deceptive Trade Practices Intersect?
    The Fair Trade Commission Act has a connection with unfair compensation and deceptive trade practices both in business interactions and commercial success. When a business or individual harmed through these issues needs a remedy, he or she or the company may seek such through the courts with enhanced rights and possible positive conclusions in court.
  • When Does Unfair Competition Rise to the Level of an Actionable Offense?
    It is important to understand how to deal with unfair competition in the business world, or the victim of such actions may not have any recourse based on possible actionable offenses versus those that are not yet to that level. In seeking a remedy to the activity, those affected need to gather as much evidence and attempt to resolve the matter with a lawyer.
  • All Antitrust and Trade Regulation Law Articles

    Articles written by attorneys and experts worldwide discussing legal aspects related to Antitrust and Trade Regulation including: competition law, international trade, trade investment and unfair competition.

Unfair Competition Law - US

  • ALI - Restatements of the Law - Unfair Competition

    This project, which addresses the right to compete, deceptive marketing, the law of trademarks, and related concepts of intangible property and correlative rights, marked the first time the Institute had addressed the subject of unfair competition since publication of the original Restatement of Torts more than half a century earlier. Together these subjects were to have been included in the Second Restatement of Torts, as they were in the first Restatement. See Restatement Second, Torts, Vol. 4, Introduction, vii-viii. It was eventually decided, however, that they should be addressed in a separate project.

  • Business Torts - Commercial Disparagement

    Since 1990, commercial torts against business have increased more than personal torts against individuals, and small business bears a disproportionate amount of liability costs. It is the small business ó perhaps a family-run business, a tech startup, or a local business employing a handful of people ó that bears the biggest burden.

  • Federal Trade Commission - Bureau of Competition

    The Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Competition champions the rights of American consumers by promoting and protecting free and vigorous competition. The Bureau: * reviews mergers and acquisitions, and challenges those that would likely lead to higher prices, fewer choices, or less innovation; * seeks out and challenges anticompetitive conduct in the marketplace, including monopolization and agreements between competitors; * promotes competition in industries where consumer impact is high, such as health care, real estate, oil & gas, technology, and consumer goods; * provides information, and holds conferences and workshops, for consumers, businesses, and policy makers on competition issues and market analysis.

  • Federal Trade Commission Act - Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices

    The Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") is an independent agency established by Congress in 1914 to enforce the Federal Trade Commission Act ("FTC Act").(1) Section 5 of the FTC Act prohibits "unfair methods of competition," and was amended in 1938 also to prohibit "unfair or deceptive acts or practices."(2) The Commission enforces a variety of other antitrust and consumer protection laws as well.

  • Federal Trade Commission's Investigative and Law Enforcement Authority

    The Commission's specific investigative powers are defined in Sections 6, 9, and 20 of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. Secs. 46, 49, and 57b-1, which authorize investigations and various forms of compulsory process. In addition, the premerger notification provisions in Section 7A of the Clayton Act, 15 U.S.C. Sec. 18a, prohibit consummation of covered acquisitions until the requested information is provided, thus effectively enabling the Commission to obtain information regarding such acquisitions.

  • Noerr-Pennington Doctrine - Wikipedia

    Under the Noerr-Pennington doctrine, private entities are immune from liability under the antitrust laws for attempts to influence the passage or enforcement of laws, even if the laws they advocate for would have anti-competitive effects.

  • Unfair Competition - Wikipedia

    Unfair competition in a general sense means that the competitors compete on unequal terms, because favourable or disadvantageous conditions are applied to some competitors but not to others; or that the actions of some competitors actively harm the position of others with respect to their ability to compete on equal and fair terms.

  • Unfair Methods of Competition

    Unfair methods of competition in or affecting commerce, and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce, are hereby declared unlawful.

  • USDOJ - Unfair Competition - FTC Act - Sherman Act - Clayton Act

    Federal antitrust laws apply to virtually all industries and to every level of business, including manufacturing, transportation, distribution, and marketing. They prohibit a variety of practices that restrain trade, such as price-fixing conspiracies, corporate mergers likely to reduce the competitive vigor of particular markets, and predatory acts designed to achieve or maintain monopoly power.

Organizations Related to Unfair Competition Law

  • American Antitrust Institute (AAI)

    The American Antitrust Institute is an independent Washington-based non-profit education, research, and advocacy organization. Our mission is to increase the role of competition, assure that competition works in the interests of consumers, and challenge abuses of concentrated economic power in the American and world economy. We have a centrist legal-economic ideology and promote the vigorous use of antitrust as a vital component of national and international competition policy.




Find a Lawyer

Find a Local Lawyer