Can You Sue For Unfair Competition In Palmdale?

Unfair Competition Laws In Palmdale, California

A lot of laws have been implemented to protect against various forms of misleading business practices. In this post, we'll talk about unfair competition, as Palmdale Business Litigation Lawyers often encounter in their legal practice.

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Unfair business practices are any deceptive or dishonest business conduct that causes harm to consumers or other businesses. The term "deceptive trade practices" is most commonly associated with acts that hurt consumers, but it also includes attempts to harm competitors through fraud, deception, bad faith, and other unfair tactics.

While the California Unfair Competition Law differs from others across the country, practically every state has enacted legislation that applies to federal laws.

What Is Considered Unfair Competition?

The term "unfair competition" has a broad definition, as does California's law. As a result, there are a plethora of acts that could be classified as violating the California UCL.

In every case, however, an unfair activity will fall into one of five categories outlined in the unfair competition legislation. The following are examples of unfair competition:

Acts or activities that are illegal.

  • Unfair. An unfair business activity, in general, has the potential to deceive the public. Courts do not have broad authority to examine contract fairness, although they can prevent fraudulent or particularly harsh commercial conduct. The facts of the case will determine whether or not a specific business activity is unfair.

  • Unlawful. An illegal practice violates a law, rule, or regulation. A statute, rule, or regulation violation might be anything from a minor federal regulation to a local city ordinance. This means that a plaintiff can file an unfair competition claim even if they do not have a private cause of action to breach the underlying business law.

  • Fraudulent. Section 17200 has a lower bar for fraudulent conduct than the customary common law requirement, requiring just proof that members of the public are likely to be fooled. Actual deceit, reasonable reliance, or actual damages do not need to be proven.

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Notably, a plaintiff does not have to prove all three parts of the statute under California law (unfair, unlawful, and fraudulent). However, for the plaintiff to establish a claim under section 17200, the business activity must meet any one of the three elements.

Due to the broad breadth of California's UCL, a wide range of commercial operations may fall under its purview. These are behaviors that are typically considered anti-competitive and can hurt both customers and other businesses.

Unfair competition can be classified into the following categories:

  • Infringement of intellectual property rights.

  • Marketers who use bait-and-switch tactics.

  • Manipulation of prices (e.g., selling below cost to harm competitors).

  • "Spoofing" or "robocalling" in flagrant violation of FCC rules.

  • Practicing trade libel.

  • Misappropriation of a trade secret.

  • Associating oneself falsely with a well-known brand.

Some of these actions are also illegal at the national level. However, in this case, filing a federal action does not bar you from pursuing legal remedies under the California Unfair Competition Law. In fact, it's probable that people who engage in infringement are also breaking the California Uniform Commercial Code.

You'll have various legal options available to you, regardless of the form of unfair competition. One solution would be to contact a Palmdale Business Law Attorney to help you sort through your legal concerns.

What Constitutes California Unfair Competition Law