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Unfair Competition, All you Need to Know

September 19, 2018

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Business man with Doubts About Unfair Competition
Have you ever wondered why it is so important to know the legal implications of unfair competition? If you haven't, you should do it since you have the right and the duty to know the law, or at least to know the most important aspects of it, especially because when it comes to the business' world, this issue acquires relevance.

Companies are responsible for not incurring in acts of unfair competition that may harm the normal exercise and development of economic activities carried out by third parties. Likewise, companies are entitled to act in its defense against unfair competition acts, in the same way, is in the duty not to engage in anti-competitive behavior that compromises the participation of others in the market.

Below, we present some of the most frequent doubts that people tend to have about this topic and their respective answers, in order to help you improve or reinforce your general knowledge about it:

What are the cases in which I can take actions due to unfair competition?

These legal actions can be taken in cases in which unfair competition has already been committed or is being committed. If the act hasn't been completed yet or hasn't caused any prejudice, the plaintiff may not demand compensation for damage.

What actions are considered unfair competition?

The following activities are considered unfair competition:
  • Inappropriate or abusive use of distinctive signs (trademarks, commercial slogans, trade names, signs, appellation of origin, indications of source, etc.)

  • Strategies that seek to confuse the consumer to avoid distinguishing the origin of the product he acquires as well as offering a false or distorted image of such products or good.

  • Activities that seek to discredit the competition, hiring competition personnel for purposes that are detrimental to it.

  • The generation of monopolies in the distribution of products and the offering of services.

  • The abusively use of the secret information from market agents, sabotage acts or others similar that interfere with the normal development of commercial activities.

  • The use of the prestige of others to attract consumers and the transgression of legal norms in general, in order to maintain the status in the market.

What are the actions that the unfair competition law allows to execute?

Basically, there are two actions that can be undertaken, but this will depend on the particular circumstances of each case: declaratory and sentencing action, preventing or prohibition action. The first is applicable in cases where the illegal activity has been committed or it's being committed and is causing prejudice, for which compensation can be requested. The second applies when the illegal activity hasn't been completed or caused any prejudice yet, being able to request compensation for damages.

What regulations can be consulted to know about the unfair competition action?

First, you should consult the substance regulation contained in Law 256 of 1996 and second, the procedural provisions provided in Law 1395 of 2010, the Code of Civil Procedure, Law 640 of 2001, Law 962 of 2005 and Law 610 of 1999.

Who can exercise unfair competition actions?

Any natural or legal person that participates or demonstrates their intention to participate in the market and finds that their economic interests are being harmed or threatened by current or potential realization of unfair competition acts. Likewise, unfair competition acts can be encouraged by guilds or professional associations, consumer protection associations and the Attorney General of the nation, when the members, consumers or public interests are affected or threatened.

Business man Holding Rival in Unfair Competition

Against whom actions of unfair competition can be exercised?

Actions for unfair competition can be undertaken against any person whose conduct has helped to the performance of an illegal act. If it's a case in which the person who carried out the conduct is a worker in full exercise of their duties, the responsibility of the act and the legal action will fall against the employer who has hired the service.

As you may notice, the reasons why the Colombian Law confers such importance on the term under which fair competition must be developed within the market, are focused in both the guaranteeing entrepreneurs' rights and the protection of consumers. The eventual realization of practices that compromise the fair competition, as well as the absence of actions that the aggrieved is in the duty to undertake in order to promote and enforce respect for the norms established by the State, gradually distorts the respect of the commercial activities towards a fair economy. Comply and enforce the law is always the best way to guarantee all the parties' rights.

Do you need professional assistance in a case of unfair competition? We invite you to contact AGT Attorneys to start receiving the advice to ensure the legal protection of your business. You can do it either by calling us at +57 1 702-3671 or by filling out our contact form below. We'll be glad to assist you!

If you found this article helpful then let us know in the comments section below. Likewise, feel free to share it using the share options below. Want us to cover another topic of your interest pertaining to legal affairs? If so, then like us and follow us on social media, and post to any of our social media profiles the topic you'd like us to discuss: Facebook AGT Attorneys and Twitter @AttorneysAGT

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Categories: Unfair Competition

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