Unfair competition

Unfair competition refers to the behavior of any entrepreneur or professional that is contrary to the requirements of good faith.

According to Spanish regulations, it will be understood that a commercial behavior or practice is contrary to good faith when it does not comply with professional diligence. That is, when it does not conform to practices that are considered as honest in the market or that seeks to distort consumer behavior.

Unfair competition practices

According to the regulations in Spain, there are various practices of unfair competition. Next we will see those that refer to the relationship with competitors.

Acts related to deception and confusion

  • Acts of deception: Refers to the delivery of false information or information that may mislead those who receive it. The deception must affect some relevant element of the product or service in question such as: main features, price, after sales assistance, repairs, guarantees, etc.
  • Acts of confusion: This refers to any behavior that seeks to create confusion among consumers about the activity, benefits or establishment of competing companies.
  • Deceptive omissions: Refers to omit or hide the information that consumers need to make a good decision. It is also unfair when unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous or inappropriate information is delivered.

Acts related to violence, violation of norms and others.

  • Aggressive practices: Harassment, coercion practices, including the use of force, or undue influence, which seek to limit the freedom of choice of consumers or competitors.
  • Acts of denigration:Refers to the attempt to undermine the reputation of competitors through false or impertinent information.
  • Acts of comparison: In general, the comparison of products or services that cover the same need is completely legal. However, the practice can be unfair if it involves copies that violate intellectual property rights, deceit, violence or denigration to others is used.
  • Acts of imitation:In general it is allowed to imitate business or commercial practices of others. However, when imitation seeks to confuse the consumer or limit competition, the practice is unfair.
  • Exploitation of the reputation of others:It refers to any practice that seeks to improperly take advantage of the advantages of the industrial, commercial or professional reputation acquired by a competitor.
  • Violation of secrets:The disclosure of industrial or business secrets without the consent of the owner is considered unfair. Spying and any other illegal way of appropriating a competitor’s secret are also considered unfair.
  • Induction to contractual infringement:It is unfair to try to induce others (workers, suppliers, customers, etc.) to infringe the contractual duties they have contracted with competitors.
  • Violation of norms:It is considered unfair when a company acquires a competitive advantage from violating the established norms.

Other acts

  • Discrimination and economic dependence:It is considered unfair that a company discriminates against its consumers in an unjustified way or takes advantage of suppliers (or other agents) whose activity depends on it.
  • Sale at a loss: In general there is freedom of prices. However, when the low-cost pricing strategy is used to induce consumer confusion, discredit or eliminate competitors, the practice can be considered unfair.
  • Illicit advertising:It is considered a practice of unfair competition.
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