Advertising is an ever-present thing in Manhattan. Everyone knows that ads almost always put their subjects in the best light possible. Still, it seems unfair when an advertisement makes false claims about either its own product or a competitor’s product. Is there anything a competitor can do when this happens? One option they may have is to pursue a lawsuit against the company under federal unfair competition law.
The Lanham Act is one law that addresses unfair competition. The Lanham Act is a federal law that allows business competitors to sue advertisers for false advertising. For example, take the case of a product’s manufacturer that falsely makes claims about the product’s environmental friendliness relative to a competitor’s product. The competitor could file suit against the manufacturer under the Lanham Act. If the competitor proves its case, it could force the manufacturer to stop making the claims. The manufacturer would have the opportunity to defend itself and prove that it was not making false claims.
The Lanham Act could also potentially help in business disputes when an advertiser uses descriptions and packaging that leads to confusion about who made or provided a good or service. This could happen when the manufacturer of a new product allegedly gives it packaging similar to that of an established product. The established competitor would be allowed to bring a case against the manufacturer, and the manufacturer would have the opportunity to defend itself against the competitor’s claims.
Sometimes a New York company will be faced with a competitor using potentially unfair methods of competition. Other times, a company may face allegations that it is engaging in unfair competition itself. Experienced legal assistance can be key in either case.