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What is unfair competition?

You have established a successful small business in Westminster and built up a strong customer base. Yet recently you notice that you have been losing business to a new rival company that just opened up a few months ago. You start hearing that it offers services very similar to yours, and then you drive past one day and are shocked to see that its logo and name are nearly identical to yours! Can it do this? 

Per Section 17200 of California's Business and Professions Code, unfair, fraudulent or unlawful professionals acts or practices are classified as unfair competition. So too is deceptive, untrue or misleading advertising. The use of a logo or brand similar to yours to draw customers away from your business certainly falls into the latter category. Doing so may imply to customers that your rival is actually associated with you in some way, which allow it to benefit off of your reputation at your expense. 

Once you discover that another company in your service sector is engaged in unfair competition, you can seek injunctive relief. This can stop it from using your logo or other elements of your business in any way while you prepare your case against it (this way, you at least stop further damage from being done to your business). The law then goes on to say that you may be able to seek action to recover any lost revenue that your rival's actions may have deprived you and your business of. 

Other specific examples of unfair competition may include false advertising or the misappropriation of trade secrets. No matter the methods used, you will want to try and stop any of the aforementioned practices quickly before your market share begins to diminish. 

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