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What is unfair competition in business?

For Mississippi residents hurt by deceptive or unfair trade practices, consumer protection laws are allowing them to seek remedies such as payment for damages and a halt to the action that caused injury. Unfair competition in the business world affects organizations by infringing on their work in some manner such as intellectual, creative and economic efforts.

This category is essentially made up of torts that negatively impact a business and its bottom line, according to Cornell Law School. The most common types of unfair competition can be sorted into two broad categories, one of the same name: unfair competition and unfair trade practices. Unfair competition describes actions intended to confuse or trick consumers about a product’s maker, which is also known as deceptive trade practices. Unfair trade practices are essentially all other types of unfair competition. Examples of these practices include:

  • Theft of trade secrets: Such as stealing software code or a salad dressing recipe from a competitor
  • Trademark infringement: Using another company’s trademark on another company’s product
  • False advertising: Making exaggerated or untrue claims about the benefits of a product
  • Substitution of one company’s brand for another: Advertising a product from a specific brand but using another brand’s product to fulfill orders
  • Trade libel: False claims, either written or spoken, about the poor quality of a company’s products or services

Another example is when a company uses the confidential information given to them by a former employee of another company. Typically, this is customer information that the new company uses to solicit its products.

Unfair competition does not apply to economic injuries suffered by monopolies or that involve antitrust legislation. Whether a business action can be deemed unfair is a consideration that differs in each case, taking a look at the company and the context of how it acted, the action itself and the details of the specific instance.

The information in this article is of a general nature and is not meant to be legal advice.

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