What should we do if one of my competitors used my outdoor advertising signs for their business?

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What should we do if one of my competitors used my outdoor advertising signs for their business?

My competitors changed my business phone number to their business phone numbers on one of my outdoor advertising sign. We must have lost customers and goodwill.

Asked on October 6, 2011 under Business Law, North Carolina

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the competitor for interference with prospective advantage.  Interference with prospective advantage is unfair competition which occurred when the competitor altered your advertising sign with their phone number instead of your phone number.  Your damages (the amount you are seeking to recover in your lawsuit) would be lost income based on the loss of particular customers.  In an established business, if you can show the loss of particular customers, this will provide evidence of lost income.  If you have a new business, it may be difficult to show the loss of particular customers.

The cause of action (claim) in your lawsuit should be for interference with prospective advantage. 

If the competitor's action interfered with an existing contract or induced your customer(s) to breach an existing contract with your company, you could include additional causes of action (claims) in your lawsuit for interference with contract and inducing breach of contract.


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