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unfair competition

What is an Unfair Competition Tort?

By John DiGiacomo

In the legal field, the word “tort” is a very broad term that means any cause of action for any sort of injury/damage inflicted by the actions of a person or business. The injury caused can be physical, such as an injury to a person or damage to physical property. The injury caused can also be intangible, such as injury to reputation, and injury/damage to intangible property, such as tarnishment of the trademark. The actions causing injury/damage can be intentional, reckless, or negligent. A typical car accident is a type of tort where a person might be injured in the accident and the vehicle might be damaged.

Unfair competition is another type of tort where a person or business uses unfair business and marketing tactics to injure another business. General examples include:

  • Use of false and misleading advertising
  • Use of false and misleading labeling of products
  • Infringement of trademarks and branding
  • Business defamation, such as falsely stating that a competitor is under criminal investigation or is filing for bankruptcy
  • Theft of trade secrets
  • In some circumstances, tortious interference with a business contract or business opportunity
  • Cybercriminal activity like hacking, cyber-extortion/blackmail, unauthorized access to computer systems, and other forms of corporate spying and espionage
  • Cyber-squatting on internet domain names
  • Bribing public/governmental officials and other forms of unlawful influence
  • Poaching of a competitor’s employees using unlawful means — “unlawful” might mean violating contractual agreements
  • Solicitation of a competitor’s clients using unlawful means

As can be seen, there are many types of unfair competition. As can be further seen, many forms of unfair competition are also criminal in nature.

Note that most competition between businesses is NOT unfair and will not result in a legal claim for the tort of unfair competition. For example, if a competitor uses reverse engineering of another company’s new product to create a competing similar product, that is not unfair competition even though the other company might suffer lost sales. If your business has been the victim of unfair competition, you can sue in State or Federal courts and recover monetary compensation for the injuries suffered by your business. You will need the legal services and guidance of experienced commercial litigation attorneys like the ones at Revision Legal. Call for a consultation at 231-714-0100 or 855-473-8474. We are lawyers specializing in punishing unfair competition.

Various forms of unfair competition are actionable as litigation based on judge-made law. But most practices that are deemed unfair competition are also actionable based on statutes and written laws. For example, at the federal level, the Federal Trade Commission Act prohibits various forms of unfair competition, including false and misleading advertising. Recently, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) has taken action against the misleading use of internet influencers. The FTC has stated that if an influencer is being paid or compensated in some manner, such compensation must be prominently disclosed. Otherwise, the business and the influencer are engaged in false and misleading advertising. There are many similar statutes enacted in nearly every State.

Contact the Business Litigation Attorneys at Revision Legal

For more information, contact the experienced Business Litigation Lawyers at Revision Legal. You can contact us through the form on this page or call (855) 473-8474.

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