Unlawful Acts under the California Unfair Competition Law
Unfair competition refers to illegal commercial activity ranging from trademark infringement to false advertising.
As any other state, California has formulated its own law, the California Unfair Competition Law to protect the business sector and its consumer.
The California Unfair Competition Law defined this illicit performance as:
• Any unlawful business act or practice
• Unfair business act or practice
• Fraudulent business act or practice
• Unfair deceptive, untrue or misleading advertising and
• Any act prohibited by section 17500-17577.5
The definition of section 17200 of the CUCL is disjunctive. The five words that define unfair competition operate distinctively from its other. It means that an act is considered prohibited or fraudulent even if it is not unfair or unlawful.
Unlike other unfair and deceptive practices statute that requires intent as an element, section 17200 of the CUCL does not require that the defendant have intent to defraud the plaintiff.
Who may be sued under the California Unfair Competition Law?
Unlike any other statutes, the California Unfair Competition Law does not exempt specific industries. It applies to all persons. Moreover, persons in the statute refer to all natural persons, corporation, firms, partnerships, Joint Stocks Corporation, association and other organization of persons.
What constitute a business act or practice?
The California Unfair Competition Law requires that the wrongful acts that defined unfair competition must constitute a business act or practice. In addition, the act or practice has been construed to encompass most conduct. Even a single act is sufficient to allege a claim under section 17200.
What constitute unlawful business act or practice?
A business act or practice is unlawful if it violates any law. Unlawful claims includes violation of numerous laws and regulations existing at the various levels of government including, state statutes, state regulations, local ordinances, prior case law and standard of professional conduct.
How to plead an unlawful claim
For a party to successfully file a claim under section 17200 based on unlawful business act or practice it is necessary that he allege or show sufficient facts of the violation of the law. Failure of a party to show supporting evidence would affect the legality of the claim.
How to plead an unfair business practice
To successfully plead an unfair business practice it is necessary that the plaintiff must show the unfair nature of the conduct. The plaintiff may also allege that the harm caused by the conduct must outweigh any benefits that the conduct may have.
What constitute fraudulent acts?
A business act or practice is fraudulent if members of the public are likely to be deceived. Under this act, it is not necessary that the wrongful conduct involve advertising or false representation.
A claim under sec. 17200 premised on fraudulent acts does not require proof or intent, actual reliance or damages. According to a case decided by the US Supreme Court the statement need not be material to the transaction - it need not have affected the consumers purchasing decision.
How to plead a claim based on fraudulent conduct?
To plead a claim under section 17200 based on fraudulent conduct the plaintiff must assert that the consumers are likely to be deceived by the defendant conduct.
In a case recently decided by the court, California law requires a plaintiff to prove that defendants advertising claims are false and misleading.
If you have been a victim of any unfair competition practices, consult our highly commendable team of expert Los Angeles Business Law attorneys. Just log on to our website and you may take advantage of our free case evaluation services.