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'Unfair!' is not just a child's term, but a business term, too

As kids, and even sometimes as grownups, we have to be reminded: "Well, life isn't fair." While most of us have learned the saying is true, what about business? Is business supposed to be fair? 

Within the realm of business law, there are regulations against being unfair. In the U.S., authorities want to protect consumers, as well as the integrity of business practices in the country and within international business transactions. One form of such protection are the laws against unfair competition. But what does that mean?

FindLaw defines unfair business competition as the following: "a deceptive or wrongful business practice that economically harms either consumers or business entities." The business regulations exist at the federal and state level. They can protect businesses and consumers. This post discusses the roots of lawsuits to protect businesses from unfair practices.

False advertising: A business claims their product is somehow different or better than a competitor's product in a manner in which it isn't. Basically, a business cannot lie to try to outdo a competitor. 

Trademark infringement: A business cannot use a competitor's protected trademark to try to fool consumers into believing they are, for example, buying a Nike Shoe when they are not. 

Misappropriation of trade secrets: A business cannot steal the tricks of a competitor that make that competitor's product special. For example, while a restaurant might make big money by selling McDonald's recipe fries, that recipe is a trade secret of McDonald's. 

These are only a few of several unfair competition points in regards to business entities and possible reasons for business litigation. There is more under the umbrella of unfair competition to discuss, including how the legal matter applies to consumer interests. We will continue this discussion in future posts.

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