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Identifying unfair competition as it occurs

Floridian business owners have a lot of hurdles to clear in order to have a successful, sustainable business. While a lot of those hurdles are to be expected for anyone journeying into entrepreneurship or self-employment, some issues are unexpected, like unfair competition from an opposing business.

Cornell Law School defines unfair competition as an act in which someone (a business owner or a company on a whole) uses deceptive trade practices to unfairly influence the market. Actions that can be defined as "unfair" differ depending on the facts of each unique case, such as the action a business is being accused of and how it fits within the context of the business itself.

Regardless of the intention or outcome, tort action may be taken. Some types of unfair competition are considered to be criminal activity as well, potentially leading to further legal action being available to take against an offending company or individual.

FindLaw explains that misappropriation and trademark infringement are two common examples of unfair competition. In these scenarios, the hallmark of a successful brand is used by a different company to fool a consumerbase into buying their goods. Other examples may include:

  • False representation of services or goods
  • False advertising
  • Trade secret theft
  • Trade libel
  • Bait and switch tactics
  • Improper use of confidential information

Unfair trade practices can be harmful in many ways. First, it takes customers away from other, honest businesses in the area. Second, it can damage the reputation of the business it is misappropriating, because customers will falsely associate these subpar products with a higher-end brand.

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