Business owners must play fair

Some call New York, New York, the business capital of the world. Deals are made every day, from small projects with construction subcontractors to multibillion-dollar deals that affect countries across the world. Naturally, with that many deals happening, there is often commercial litigation. One of the things addressed by commercial litigation is unfair competition.

Unfair competition is defined as a wrongful or deceptive business practice that results in economic harm to business entities or consumers. Federal laws and state laws exist to guard against unfair competition by actively protecting the creative, intellectual and economic investments that businesses make in order to distinguish their products and services.

Unfair competition can take many forms. One of those forms is using a trademark that is owned by a different company. For example, if you put Apple's famous logo on electronics manufactured by a company that has nothing to do with Apple. "Bait and switch" tactics are a closely related form of unfair competition that involve a seller "baiting" consumers by offering one product and then saying that it isn't available and trying to sell them something else. For example, a computer store might offer iPads for $40 but then tell consumers who go to the computer store that the iPads are sold out and then try to sell the consumers much more expensive tablets. Naturally, consumers are quick to catch on to scams like that and are correspondingly quick to take action against the businesses that do it.

Unfair competition can also manifest other ways, like when a company engages in their false advertising, misrepresenting their products and their competitors' products. Misleading consumers in any way qualifies as unfair competition, and is a good way for a company to put themselves out of business. Honesty is always the best policy. Honest business owners will feel better about themselves and will avoid getting sued.

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