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Competition laws create a level playing field for California businesses

Companies in California need to be wary of going too far with their aggressive business techniques as certain cutthroat practices may expose them to potential civil liability and penalties under California's unfair competition laws.
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    December 31, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Although it is one of the most commonly used cliches, the business world is truly a "dog eat dog" industry - especially in states with large economies such as California. Given this competitive nature inherent in business, it is quite common for companies to do whatever it takes to gain even the slightest advantage over other businesses in the industry. However, companies in the Golden State need to be wary of going too far with their aggressive business techniques as certain cutthroat practices may expose them to potential civil liability and penalties under California's unfair competition laws.

Unfair Competition in California

California law expressly prohibits unfair competition in business, which can involve many unscrupulous practices, including any:
- Unlawful business acts or practices
- Unfair business acts or practices
- Fraudulent business acts or practices
- Unfair, untrue, deceptive or misleading advertisements

If these particular prohibitions appear to be a bit inexact or vague at first glance, that is because they are. In fact, the concept of unfair competition has long been interpreted in California as a flexible and broad doctrine, with the ability to change as the business world evolves. Accordingly, there is no all-encompassing list of what actions constitute unfair competition in California. However, the "unlawful practices" forbidden under unfair competition laws are often any business practice that is prohibited under any law, whether it is state, federal or municipal law.

Thus, if a business suffers injury due to a violation of a law by another company - such as deceptive advertising - the injured business may have a private cause of action against the offending company under California's unfair competition laws. However, the remedies available for these private suits are typically equitable in nature - meaning the injured business can possibly seek restitution or an injunction ordering the offending company to stop their unfair business practices.

It is also important to note that the California Attorney General can also bring suits against companies that engage in unfair competition. These suits can lead to civil penalties of $2,500 for each violation by the offending company - penalties that are not available to private litigants.

Ultimately, the law surrounding unfair competition can be quite difficult to navigate in California - not to mention that several other forms of legal liability may exist when courts examine questionable business practices. Accordingly, it is often best to consult with an experienced business litigation attorney if you are a business owner who has been accused of unfair competition, or you believe another company has caused you injury due to activities that amount to unfair competition. A knowledgeable attorney can explain confusing laws and help determine what your rights and options may be given your particular circumstances.

Article provided by Vukmanovic Law Group, APC
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