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Competition among professionals: what recourses are there against unfair practices?

Home > French Business Law | Updated 2015-06-30 | Published 2014-12-09

Competition: what is the harm?

Competition is legally defined as "a situation in which there is a person or company with respect to one or more other when, while making a profit, it can compete with them, offering a service or product is at least equivalent to a base price”

Competition includes four forms of harm or injury: parasitism, disorganization, denigration and imitation.

Parasitism consists of taking advantage of the reputation and financial investment (or human assets) of another company in order to reap the same profits.

Disorganization can manifest itself in two ways: poaching another company’s staff and/or soliciting a competitor’s customers

Denigration consists of discrediting a competitor by spreading malicious information about their products and services or business.

Imitation occurs when a competitor mimics and takes advantage of another company’s reputation in a way that causes the customer to be confused and unable to distinguish between the two, thus diverting the customer’s business away from the original company.

If you think you might be a victim of unfair competitive practices, call a lawyer immediately so that you can be on top of the situation and develop the most appropriate strategy to obtain the necessary remedies to redress your injuries.

How to defend against competitive actions from a professional

Some professions, such as physicians and notaries, are regulated and therefore have their own disciplinary jurisdiction, often in the form of a board.

In case of a conflict with a professional in the same sector as you, it is possible to file a complaint to denounce the harmful behavior before the appropriate disciplinary body. Just as in civil, criminal, or administrative courts, there is a procedural, hierarchical process in place. However, be aware that these hearings can generally only sanction disciplinary offenses that violate the code of ethics or the professional code of conduct. It is virtually impossible to obtain damages through this route.

It might, therefore, be necessary to appear before the civil or commercial courts. In effect, the Commercial Court has jurisdiction where both parties are merchants, and the High Court has jurisdiction where the parties are not merchants (such is the case if the unfair competitive action concerns freelance professionals). It should be noted that before the High Court, legal representation is mandatory.

Also note that it is possible to pursue interim relief, or accelerated procedure, if certain conditions are met. Examples include: crisis, cases of clearly illicit activities, prevention of imminent damage, etc.

If you experience such an injury, contact a lawyer because there are solutions. Picovschi Lawyers are highly experienced in business law as well as competition law, and we will do everything possible to defend and protect your interests.

This article is available online for public information purposes. It is updated regularly, as needed. Due to the constant evolution of the laws and the legal system, we cannot guarantee that the information in this article is still applicable. We invite you to contact us with any legal questions or concerns you have regarding this topic at +33 1 56 79 11 00. In no way can this firm be held liable for articles that contain inaccuracies or are now out of date.

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