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How do you prove unfair competition?

On Behalf of | Jul 27, 2023 | Business & Commercial Litigation

The business world in Massachusetts is not immune from competition. When you run a company, it’s natural to want to get a leg up on the competition. This is essential to stay in business, turn a profit and grow your company.

An age-old problem in business

But unfair competition has always been a business litigation issue in various industries and businesses of all sorts. And although these unfair competitors may eventually feel the sting of the law, it may take a considerable length of time before the legal implications reach them and put an end to these practices.

Meanwhile, competing companies spend the entire time suffering the consequences, and smaller businesses aren’t always able to weather the storm. In some cases, the financial damage from their illegal and immoral business actions may be too much for them to stay afloat.

What does unfair competition look like?

Unfair competition comes in various forms. Business owners should know how to identify acts of unfair competition and know what to do when they see it. You may be able to catch perpetrators in the act to help get them out of the market faster, and in this way, you can help keep your business protected from these unscrupulous practices.

Common forms of unfair competition include:

  • Libel
  • Trademark infringement
  • Copyright infringement
  • Misappropriation of trade secrets
  • Antitrust violation
  • Tortious interference

For instance, libel is used to spread falsehoods about competing companies. An antitrust violation occurs when one business stops the competition through methods like predatory prices and elusive deals.

Tortious interference is when one company convinces a group that does business with a competing company to breach their contract or neglect their duties. Or if a competitor accesses sensitive information about the business and uses it advantageously, it’s misappropriation of trade secrets. This can come in the form of data breaches, espionage, and public leaks.

The technical term for unfair competition in business is anti-competitive practices. These actions are taken to mislead and deceive. They often involve fraud, and most of the time, they’re illegal.

Sometimes, anti-competitive practices are carried out to bring down the competition they have to deal with as a company. Other times, the practice wipes out all competitors entirely.

Unfair competition isn’t only harmful to the other businesses in the mix. Consumers also pay the price when one company takes all the competition out of the picture. That’s why these practices are the focus of regulation at both the state and federal levels