Oklahoma City Law Firm Of Brown & Gould

What is an Unfair Competition Tort?


Fair competition between businesses levels the playing field and gives every company an opportunity to make a profit. Competition between businesses is legal, healthy, and usually fair, even though one party may suffer financial losses as the result of another business’s lawful actions. Reverse engineering of a competitor’s new product with the intent of creating a similar product is not unfair, for example, even though the other company may lose money.

Some “bad actors” engage in unfair competition, though, and their actions can bring real harm to commercial enterprises. Legal professionals refer to these wrong actions as torts.

Oklahoma Attorney Defines and Discusses an Unfair Competition Tort

A tort is any civil act or omission that leads to injury or harm to another. The harm caused by a tort may be physical or intangible. Physical harm includes damage to physical property or injury to a person. Causing a car accident that results in injuries to a person and/or damage to a vehicle is a common physical tort. Intangible harm may involve injury to a party’s reputation or tarnishing their trademark. The harmful action may be intentional, reckless, or negligent.

Unfair competition is a type of tort. It occurs when a person, business, or organization engages in unfair business or marketing practices that injure another business.

Examples of unfair competition torts include:

  • Using false and/or misleading advertising
  • Bait and switch
  • Using false and/or misleading product labeling
  • Trademarks and/or branding infringement
  • Business defamation
  • Stealing trade secrets
  • Interfering with a business opportunity or a business contract
  • Hacking, unauthorized access to computer systems, cyber-extortion/blackmail, or other types of cybercriminal activities
  • Cyber-squatting, or registering internet domain names of well-known companies in hopes of reselling at a profit
  • Bribing public/governmental officials or practicing other forms of unlawful influence
  • Solicitation of a competitor’s clients or poaching of their employees via unlawful means, such as violating contractual agreements

There are two main types 

Unfair competition – also known as deceptive trade practices, the intent is to lure customers into purchasing a product or service; odometer tampering and false advertising are some examples.

Unfair trade practices – covers all other types of unfair competition; examples include false door prizes or false free gifts, deceptive pricing, false advertising, and non-compliance with manufacturing standards

Some types are criminal in nature. State and federal governments can bring criminal charges against perpetrators. Businesses that have been victims of unfair competition practices may sue in state or federal courts. If they can prove their case, they may receive monetary compensation for any harm they experience.

Protecting your company from this takes tenacity and legal expertise, as tort law is complex. Getting what you deserve after an unfair competition tort also takes the assistance of a highly trained lawyer, as does defending yourself or your company against false accusations of harming another company or individual.

Contact Brown & Gould With Further Questions About Unfair Competition Torts

For more information, consult with Brown & Gould. Proving unfair competition torts can be extremely complicated and requires deep knowledge of the law. Our Oklahoma City civil litigation attorneys are highly experienced in handling unfair competition claims and other civil torts.

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Brown & Gould, PLLC,
136 NW 10th Street
Suite 200
Oklahoma City, OK 73103
Phone: 405-235-4500
Fax: 405-235-4507    
The Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, law office of Brown & Gould, PLLC, serves the nearby cities of Moore, Norman, Edmond, Nichols Hills, Midwest City, Del City, Yukon, Mustang, El Reno, Shawnee, Tulsa and other areas, including Oklahoma County, Cleveland County, Canadian County, McClain County, Pottawatomie County, Tulsa County, Logan County and throughout the state of Texas in the cities of Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, El Paso and Austin.