Recognized in France since 1791, the principle of free competition allows merchants to seek to attract their competitors’ clientele without incurring liability.
Although the freedom of competition stimulates the economicy, the race for productivity and service improvement can lead to abuse.
However, there is a clear connection between unfair competition and counterfeiting. Therefore, a legal action against unfair competition may be involved in order to seek a penalty for unfair competiton techniques that create a likelihood of confusion for a product, a trademark, a website, and a domain name, and damage relationships between businesses and consumers.
Although the freedom of trade and industry remains an important principle, legal actions against parasitic and unfair actions are very successful because they tends to penalize businesses that try to draw profit from their competitors, without any personal investment. Parasitism thus helps to protect certain investments, even without any prior intellectual property rights. It can include imitating competitor’s website, product or domain name.
Thus, a legal action against unfair and parasitic competition can be filed together with a legal action against infringement. The two legal actions should remain independent since they have different objectives. The purpose of the infringement action will be to defend intellectual property rights while the action in unfair and parasitic competition tends to compensate for the damage caused by infringement of trade loyalty, which may be prefferable in case where counterfeiting is not certain for a customer who wishes to obtain compensation for the alleged damages.
Fitzlawter will advise you and help you to develop strategies for your particular case.