Unfair competition generally refers to competitive or commercial behavior which violates a legal duty owed by one person to another. It occurs in the business context when someone conducts themselves contrary to honest business practices.
This may include “passing off” which is when a producer misrepresents his own goods or services as someone else or vice versa. More commonly, unfair competition includes the misappropriation of trade secrets.
RELATED: Texas unfair competition laws
In the employer/employee context, it is best for an employer to have its employees bound by enforceable noncompete, nonsolicitation and nondisclosure agreements. Doing so can avoid the difficulties of having to prove wrongful conduct that is not based upon the violation of a contract.
However, even without an enforceable noncompete or nondisclosure agreement, an employer does not necessarily lack an ability to protect itself from unlawful conduct. Statutory claims and tort claims may exist to remedy improper use or disclosure of trade secrets, to prohibit an employee from breaching a duty of loyalty, and to prevent a party from tortiously interfering with a contract or prospective business relationship. Other claims may also be available to a person or entity who believes it has been the victim of unfair competition.
An experienced attorney can guide you through your options in this unique type of business dispute.
Lindquist Wood Edwards LLP represents both businesses and individuals in a wide variety of unfair competition disputes. Contact us today for help.