Competition in the market economy should be regularly aligned on fair competition performance. Fair competition is the highlighting of one’s own goods or services, with true advertisement. Conversely, merchants contradict the fair competition, if by means of advertising an unfair advantage is expected, since inaccurate information concerning the performance or the competitor towards the customer will be given. For example with reference to particular corporate tradition that does not exist. The reference to an approximately 50-year-old company tradition always creates the impression among the public this is a special quality. Such advertising is always connected to economic success. Therefore, incorrect information provided by advertisement about a company’s anniversary or the existence of a company are most times unfair competition.
The same is true as well for inaccurate comparative advertising when products or services are compared, which are not identical or similar. The same will be considered for harming the reputation of a competitor as anti-competitive defamation. The dissemination of inaccurate statement about a competitor’s financial situation is, according to the law of the federal republic of Germany, inadmissible, if this brings the competitor to the risk of his loans or credits. However, this is generally the case with such allegations.
Slanderous statements about a company can quickly bring it in economic distress. Therefore, fast legal action in competition disputes is always needed. Antitrust claims become also state-barred within 6 months of becoming aware and without knowledge from 3 years after the end of the competition infringement. Due to the significant impact of anti-competitive acts in the competition, it is governed by the competition law that restraining orders before the competent courts may be filed. Due to this fact, the warning letter has very short deadlines in the field of competition law. However, warning letters may not always been sent in written form. In blatant violation of competition legislation the warning may also be sufficiently definite if given over the phone. Unless the cease and desist declaration reinforced by contractual penalties is not underwritten within the given deadline, competitor will file a lawsuit immediately and asks for injunction before the competent civil court.
Due to these peculiarities, the law against unfair competition is a very sharp sword against unfair competitors. By means of this legislation, one is able to quickly and effectively use preliminary injunction to stop the unfair competitor immediately. Even within hours an injunction may be granted and the advertisement, statement or other actions of the competitor must be stopped.