In today's highly competitive business climate, businesses are subjected to various methods of competition, most of which are fair and lawful. Some, however, are unethical, unfair, or unlawful. Identifying those practices that go beyond the limit of vigorous competition and are thus potentially actionable requires a considerable degree of familiarity with a variety of federal and state statutes, administrative regulations, and common-law theories of recovery.
As a starting point, the FTC has issued a large number of administrative guidelines directed at particular industries involving such issues as the following:
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Apart from specific administrative regulations, various statutes and common-law theories create a vast body of often contradictory law. It is important to be able to identify what categories of conduct are unlawful in order to effectively advise clients as to the proper course of conduct.
CATEGORIES OF CHALLENGED BUSINESS PRACTICES
It is evident that a broad spectrum of questionable practices can be actionable. The indistinct divisions between categories and sometimes confusing definitions within categories warrant careful review and analysis before advising the client. The business client needs incisive advice even before litigation ensues, certainly to avoid being a defendant, but also to convince competitors to desist from engaging in objectionable practices. He/she always needs to know when he/she is on firm legal ground.