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What is unfair competition?

unfair competitionUnfair competition under the federal Lanham Act (15 U.S.C. § 1125) is commonly known as passing off one’s goods or services for another’s.  This means when a party tries to pass his goods or services off as affiliated with or sponsored by another.  Unfair competition usually involves an element of consumer deception.

One of the benefits of a claim for unfair competition is that you need not have a registered trademark in order to bring the claim.  Another benefit of a claim for unfair competition it is often broader than a claim for trademark infringement.

There are two types of theories for unfair competition, one for likelihood of confusion and one for false advertising. An example is that a claim for unfair competition may cover a party’s false or misleading advertising even if the false or misleading ads would not constitute a claim for trademark infringement.

Notably, a claim for unfair competition may be brought under both federal and Florida law.  Likewise, as jurisdiction is concurrent, a claim for unfair competition under federal law may be brought in either federal or Florida state court.

Please Note: Rabin Kammerer Johnson provides these FAQ’s for informational purposes only, and you should not interpret this information as legal advice. If you want advice as to how the law might apply to the specific facts and circumstances of your case, please contact one of our attorneys.

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