Business torts consist of the many issues that impact the profitability and integrity of today’s businesses.
Unfair business practices are typically at the heart of business torts, and there are many different ways you can address these and other challenges that your organization might face.
Businesses, like individuals, can sustain injuries that affect their business revenue, industry relationships, and reputation. These lead to lasting damages that are difficult to overcome.
The following are the top 3 most common business torts that you should be aware of. Understanding how these can occur and what to do will protect your business and ensure your industry success.
INTERFERENCE WITH BUSINESS PRACTICES
One party may interfere with the business practices of another, which impacts the interests of the plaintiff. The defendant’s actions must be intentional, and they often involve the interference of contracts or potential business opportunities.
Injured parties can seek to recover damages when a business relationship has been disrupted or destroyed through the actions of a third party.
Although laws vary between states, many courts require a demonstration of “improper” interference. This occurs when the defendant has displayed some improper motive or actions that lie beyond the scope of the defendant’s rights.
Cases in which one party is seeking to protect its own interests without resorting to false claims don’t constitute improper interference.
Injurious falsehoods are another common business tort. Making false statements about another business, its products, or its services can lead to costly damages. Injurious falsehoods include libel, slander, and false negative reviews.
Communication of falsehoods comes from a third party, and the recipient of that message must understand that it relates to another party’s products, services, or brand.
The injured party must demonstrate that the false claims resulted in damages. Some cases require plaintiffs to also specify which clients or customers were lost because of the claims made by the defendant.
In some jurisdictions, malice must be shown alongside the defendant’s intention of harming the plaintiff. Otherwise, plaintiffs may only need to provide evidence that the statement was known to be false when made by the defendant.
Trademarks include business names, logos, words, and products. These marks are used by businesses to distinguish their products and services in the marketplace.
Trademarks help consumers identify businesses and know the source of a given product or service. But not all marks may be trademarked, which can lead to confusion and conflict between competitors and the people they serve.
Marks must be unique and arbitrary. Less unique marks may be trademarked if they have taken on a second meaning in the eyes of consumers. This allows businesses to trademark some generic phrases.
Registered trademarks give you all the rights that are granted by the federal trademark law. Those trademarks that are unregistered afford you some of the same rights along with other common law rights.
Trademark laws can also vary between states. In some states, the level of protection granted to businesses may not depend on whether or not the trademark is registered or unregistered.
There are many business torts that companies face as they grow their businesses. Computer attacks and product liability issues may also fall under the category of business torts.
Understanding business torts gives you the resources you need protect your company from costly damage. The right legal protection ensures that your business interests are maintained and that you achieve long-term industry success.