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David H. Schwartz Nov. 23, 2019

In both state and federal cases, it is commonplace for individual consumers to bring legal actions against businesses alleging false or misleading advertising, but what about one business suing another business? Can misleading ads against your business be legally actionable? Bay Area-based business litigation attorney David H. Schwartz has the answers to these questions.

Misleading Advertising in California

Misleading advertising falls under the definition of what is referred to as California’s Unfair Competition Law, which is explained in detail in California Business and Professions Code Sections 17200 through 17209. Unfair, unlawful, or fraudulent business practices, along with unfair, deceptive, or misleading advertising are all included in this law. Misleading advertising methods may include:

  • False claims made by a business about a product

  • Attempts to pass off counterfeit products as originals

  • Fraudulent claims about product ingredients

Any false claim made publicly that leads to either harm to consumers or has negative financial impact on a competing business could be grounds for a claim of false or misleading advertising. When there are legal grounds for such a claim to be made, an individual or business has the right to pursue legal action.

Can One Business Sue Another Over Misleading Ads?

In our heavily commercialized society, it has become a common strategy for a business to try to improve their public standing or increase sales by using comparative advertising featuring the product of a competitor. Under the federal Lanham Act of 1946, when one business is responsible for a case of false or misleading advertising against a competing business, then the business which has been damaged by the false ads can sue the offending party. Grounds for suing for misleading ads may include:

  • Claims that a product performs better than the product of a competitor without evidence

  • Fake internet reviews for products or services

  • Ads which knowingly deceive or create confusion regarding a competitor’s business or product

If a competing business has been using any of these tactics against your business, or if you believe your business may be suffering damage to either its reputation or its financial standing in the marketplace, you may be able to bring legal action against them to resolve the situation.

How Can My Business Be Compensated?

Although punitive damages are not awarded to individuals or businesses, there are different possibilities in terms of remedies. If you are successful in suing a competitor for misleading advertisements, the penalties for your competitor could include:

  • Injunctive action to prevent the competing business from continuing to engage in the unfair practice

  • Corrective advertising to reverse the previous false claims

  • Payment for lost profits due to damage from the false advertising

Protecting the good name of your business in the marketplace should be a priority for you, and commercial litigation attorney David H. Schwartz will make it a priority as well.

What a Business Litigation Attorney Can Do for You

When business matters get complicated, it is in your best interest to consult with a knowledgeable attorney who understands the complexities of California business law. Competing businesses do not have the right to make false claims or produce misleading advertising against your business, and defending your business is a battle worth fighting. Don’t let your business be victimized by unfair or unlawful business practices—exercise your legal right to protect your company.

San Francisco-area business litigation attorney David H. Schwartz has over four decades of experience helping business owners like you make the best possible legal decisions for their companies. You have worked hard to build your business, and the reputation you have earned is important to you. If your business has been the victim of misleading or false advertising by a competitor, you have the right to legally defend your company. Let David H. Schwartz stand up for you and the future of your business. Contact the Law Offices of David H. Schwartz today to schedule your consultation.