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False Advertising & Unfair Competition

The way competitors engage in business can have a significant impact on the ability to compete in the marketplace.  When competitors overstep their bounds by engaging in false or misleading advertising to customers and potential customers, the goodwill, reputation and profits of a company can face significant harm.  At Goulston & Storrs, we take the methods in which our clients’ competitors compete in the marketplace very seriously and help our clients to combat false advertising and unfair competition tactics.  We also work closely with clients to ensure that our clients are carefully advertising themselves and engaging with others in a manner that complies with federal and state statutes in order to avoid unnecessary litigation.

Apart from the federal trademark act (Lanham Act) offering protections against false advertising, each state has various forms of false advertising and unfair competition statutes that companies must keep in mind when engaging in commerce.  While a common misconception is that there must be an underlying patent or trademark in a claim of false advertising or unfair competition, the law often protects against the misappropriation of the value of a company’s business even when traditional forms of intellectual property are not involved.  Our False Advertising & Unfair Competition group helps clients navigate this complex area of law.

Representative Projects and Transactions

  • Represented a European medical device manufacturer in an action against its former U.S. distributor and competitor on claims of injury to business reputation, intent to deceive, and unfair competition under federal and New York law resulting in injunction and nationwide recall of infringing products, which was affirmed on appeal.
  • Defended software consulting company against claims of tortious interference with contractual and business relations, and unfair and deceptive trade practices under Massachusetts law from competitor, resulting in successfully dismissing all claims.
  • Defended an international social networking start-up company against claims by a competitor for unfair competition under California law resulting in dismissal of claims.
  • Represented investment developer and model manager in successfully stopping former licensee from falsely advertising our client’s investment track record as its own under federal and Massachusetts law.
  • Represented U.S. medical device manufacturer against claims of false advertising and unfair competition brought by competitor relating to the quality of surgical retractors under federal and California law.
  • Represented world-famous teaching hospital in successfully asserting claims of unfair competition under Massachusetts law against a former employee that was commercializing technology developed by the hospital.
  • Represented Fortune 500 company in claims against a competitor for unfair competition under federal and Massachusetts law.
  • Advised medical device distributor in comparative advertising dispute with competitor.
  • Defended international retailer in successfully defeating claims of unfair competition under California law brought by a former private label supplier.


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