If you are like many business owners, you know what it means to make sacrifices for your company. You may rarely see your family, that is, if you have even taken the time to start one. Can you remember the last time you took a vacation? Have you lost track of the amount of money you have invested in this venture?
Even when you consider the sacrifices you have made, it all seems worth it when you see the success your California company is having. However, nothing can prepare you for the emotions you felt when you learned that a competing business was using deceptive tactics that were causing damage to your hard work. After all your sacrifices, you are not ready to allow unfair competition to jeopardize your success.
What is unfair competition?
There are numerous ways in which a competitor may violate the many state and federal laws protecting businesses from unfair trade practices. If you suspect a competing business owner of any of these actions, you can help your cause by collecting as much documentation as possible about the violation. Some examples of unfair competition include the following:
- Using your company’s trademark or packaging to trick your customers into purchasing a competing product
- Substituting their own product after baiting customers with yours
- Stealing your trade secrets, especially after hiring a former employee who has confidential information about your company or products
- Falsely representing their product as superior to yours
- Advertising false claims about the benefits or capabilities of their products
- Spreading false or defaming rumors about your company or product
From the earliest years of the nation’s development, laws existed to encourage the development of businesses and to protect those entrepreneurs from unfair competition. Laws continue to develop at the state and federal level, and you may have cause to seek remuneration for any damages your competitor has caused through deception or other unlawful means.
Making things right
A successful civil action against a business owner using unfair practices may include injunctive relief, which forces the other business to stop the actions included in your complaint. You may also win a monetary award if you can prove your competitor cost your company damages.
The court will base a monetary award on the seriousness of the action as well as the number of times and ways your competitor violated your rights. Your documentation of the violations may help the court reach a conclusion about the damages for which you are eligible. Having a strong legal advocate from the beginning will also offer you an advantage.