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Unfair Competition

The body of law protecting the first user of such a name, brand, size, shape, or other distinctive characteristic against an imitating or counterfeiting competitor.

Unfair Competition is the dishonest or fraudulent rivalry in trade and commerce; it is the action of infringement of intellectual property or interference with contracts or prospective economic advantage.

In its more narrow application, this action concerns trying to "pass off" goods or services upon the public as if they were the goods or services of another, more reputable business or product.


(1) Matters pertaining to antitrust law, known in the European Union as competition law. Antitrust violations constituting unfair competition occur when one competitor attempts to force others out of the market (or prevent others from entering the market) through tactics such as predatory pricing or obtaining exclusive purchase rights to raw materials needed to make a competing product;

(2) Trademark infringement and passing off, which occur when the maker of a product uses a name, logo, or other identifying characteristics to deceive consumers into thinking that they are buying the product of a competitor;

(3) Misappropriation of trade secrets, which occurs when one competitor uses espionage, bribery, or outright theft to obtain economically advantageous information in the possession of another;

(4) Trade libel, the spreading of false information about the quality or characteristics of a competitor's products, is prohibited at common law;

(5) Various unfair business practices such as fraud, misrepresentation, and unconscionable contracts may be considered unfair competition, if they give one competitor an advantage over others; and,

(6) Bribery of a competitor's employees and use of a former employer's trade secrets.