unfair trade practices & trade secrets claims
Rely on the Joe Griffith Law Firm, LLC to protect your business from unfair trade practices. Our attorneys stand ready to litigate your unfair trade practices claims against rogue companies and individuals who have hurt your business with unfair and deceptive trade practices.
For companies and individuals in highly competitive business environments, the disputes you encounter may not fit neatly into a single category. Yet if you believe that your competitors are using unfair or illegal conduct to gain a competitive advantage, you likely need legal representation.
Unfair business practices can take many forms, including price fixing, unfair trade practices, unfair competition policies, technology disputes, antitrust violations and others. Antitrust laws such as the Sherman Act, the Clayton Act, the Wilson Act, and The Federal Trade
Commission Act guard against such unfair trade practices.
South Carolina’s Unfair Trade Practices Act (“SCUTPA”) is set forth at Code Sections 39-5-10 to 39-5-560, and is notable in that it provides a prevailing plaintiff the right to recover treble damages and attorney’s fees. South Carolina’s Trade Secrets Act is set forth at Code Sections 39-8-10 to 39-8-130, and is notable in that it provides a prevailing plaintiff the right to recover actual damages based on a flexible standard as follows: (1) the actual loss caused by the misappropriation; (2) the unjust enrichment caused by the misappropriation not taking into account the actual loss; or (3) the imposition of a royalty. Double exemplary damages and attorney’s fees are also available under the Trade Secrets Act.
Unfair trade practices encompass a broad array of torts, all of which involve economic injury brought on by deceptive or wrongful conduct. The legal theories that can be asserted include claims such as trade secret misappropriation, unfair competition, false advertising, palming-off, dilution and disparagement, and may be governed by common law as well as federal and state statutes and regulations. Unfair trade practices can arise in any field of technology and frequently appear in connection with the more traditional intellectual property claims of patent, trademark and copyright infringement.
Some specific examples of actions that may be considered unfair or deceptive business practices include the following:
- Trade secrets misappropriations.
- Antitrust violations.
- False advertising and other misrepresentations -- advertising and statements which have the tendency to mislead are illegal. These include:
- Actual false statement in advertisements about a product's quality,
ingredients or effectiveness.
- Fake testimonials and endorsements.
- Pictures of the wrong merchandise in ads trying to sell some other item
that imply the pictures are of the items being sold.
- Use of price in ads that are not the real price of the merchandise
described or pictured.
- Advertising sale items that are not actually available to convince
people to visit the seller's store or business, or sending flyers with some
sale items where the actual items that are on sale are not clearly
- Deceptive statements of guarantees in advertisements - the statement must
identify the nature of the guarantee and who is offering it (the manufacturer,
the seller or someone else), what parts of the product are covered and what is
required of the consumer to make a claim under the guarantee.
- Charging for goods or services at higher rates than the marked, published
or advertised price.
- Giving an unrealistically low estimate for a job in order to get it and
then charging for a variety of "extras" to increase the price of the job, when
those extras should clearly have been included in the regular price of the
If you or your business have been affected by unfair trade
practices and wish to consult a lawyer for legal advice, the Joe
Griffith Law Firm invites you to call us today, at 843-CALL-JOE
(843-225-5563), or contact us via our
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