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8Unfair competition

8.1. What does unfair competition consist of?

Any conduct objectively contrary to good faith is deemed to be unfair. The amendments introduced by Law 29/2009 significantly extend the scope of consumer protection, whereby in relations between businesses or professionals and consumers, there are two requirements for behavior to be deemed unfair: that the behavior of the business or professional be contrary to professional diligence and capable of significantly distorting the economic behavior of the average consumer. Intellectual property can often be protected via unfair competition legislation.

8.2. What acts are deemed unfair?

Unfair competition torts include acts of confusion, misleading acts and omissions, aggressive acts, acts of denigration, comparison, imitation, exploitation of a third party’s reputation, violation of trade secrets, incitement to breach of contract, infringement of laws relating to discrimination and selling at a loss. The 2009 reform also considers the breach of industry codes of conduct to which businesses have freely adhered, an act of unfair competition.

Unfair competition regulations also include the protection of know-how by deeming unfair the disclosure or exploitation, without the consent of their proprietor, of industrial or business secrets obtained lawfully, in the understanding that they would be kept confidential.