Florida Unfair Business Practices Lawyer
Jonathan Pollard represents clients throughout the state of Florida in disputes involving unfair business practices such as trademark infringement, false advertising and antitrust. With respect to litigation under the Lanham (Trademark) Act, Jonathan has prosecuted and defended claims for trademark infringement, false advertising and cybersquatting. Additionally, Jonathan has significant experience with unfair competition cases and has both prosecuted and defended complex antitrust claims. Jonathan has litigated antitrust cases under Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act, including cases touching upon complex issues such as price-fixing and patent misuse by a monopolist. Representative matters include:
- Prosecuting Lanham Act claims for false advertising on behalf of medical staffing company against industry rival in ESP Systems v. Nightingale Nurses (SDFL 2016).
- Representing a Pennsylvania-based consumer products company against industry giant Kimberly Clark in prosecuting antitrust counterclaims based on patent misuse in Kimberly Clark Worldwide, Inc. v. First Quality Baby Products, Case No. 1:09-CV-1685 (M.D. Pa.)
- Prosecuting Lanham Act claims for trademark infringement and false advertising by manufacturer of after-market car parts and accessories against former employee and industry rival in Racing Sports Concept, LLC v. Dickinson et. al., Case No. 13 – 20428 (SDFL)
Lanham (Trademark) Act
The Lanham Act is the source of federal trademark law and prohibits a variety of practices including trademark infringement, trademark dilution, trade dress infringement and false advertising. The false advertising provisions of the Lanham Act are often overlooked. Under the Lanham Act, competitors have standing to bring an action against marketplace rivals for false representations of material facts. A company that has suffered damage as a result of a rival’s representations regarding its own products or services or the products or services of others may have standing to pursue a false advertising claim under the Lanham Act. The statue provides for a broad range of remedies including actual damages, disgorgement of the defendant’s profits, attorneys fees and corrective advertising.
Deceptive Trade Practices
In Florida, many claims for unfair business practices can be prosecuted under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (also known as FDUTPA). FDUTPA is a powerful statute that protects both consumers and businesses alike. At its core, the statute prohibits businesses from engaging in false advertising that would tend to deceive, confuse or mislead a customer. Although the statute is intended as a check against the conduct of business entities, businesses also have standing to bring FDUTPA claims when they have been deceived by other businesses. If you have a strong case, FDUTPA may be a particularly useful tool, because the statute provides for an award of attorney’s fees to the prevailing party.
Common Law Unfair Competition
Florida common law also recognizes a variety of claims for unfair competition. The claim of unfair competition per se involves a competitor engaging in fraudulent or deceptive conduct that creates a likelihood of consumer confusion.
The antitrust laws are laws that protect free and fair competition. Antitrust claims can be prosecuted under either federal law, in the form of the Sherman Act or Clayton Act, or their state law counterpart, the Florida Antitrust Act. The scope of Florida’s Act is largely coextensive with the scope of the federal antitrust laws. Some of the most common variants of antitrust claims involve horizontal price-fixing schemes; monopolization or attempted monopolization; market division or consumer allocation; and a group boycott or refusal to deal. Jonathan Pollard has extensive experience both prosecuting and defending complex antitrust claims.