Unfair competition

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As unfair competition is known in competition law a specific form of breach of law . Unfair competition is present when the behavior of companies and organizations in the economic competition against public decency contrary. Unfair competition therefore leads to injunctive relief and claims for damages.

Regulation in Germany

The German law against unfair competition (UWG) is a legal norm that has evolved over time and is intended to protect competitors, consumers and other market participants from unfair competition while taking into account the general interest in undistorted competition.

Principle (general clause)

Unfairness is defined in Paragraph 3 UWG: "Business activities that are directed at or reach consumers are unfair if they do not correspond to business diligence and are capable of significantly influencing the consumer's economic behavior."


The addressees of the UWG are all persons under private and public law . The facts of unfair competition are described in § § 4 to § 7 UWG. These include, for example:

See also the judgment of the European Court of Justice in the article Distance Selling Law .

Regulation in Austria

A law against unfair competition (UWG) has also been passed in the Republic of Austria. The injured party can sue for omission and / or compensation. Other regulations are not dissimilar to German legal practice.

Regulation in Switzerland

According to Article 1 of the Act against Unfair Competition (UWG), the aim is " to ensure fair and undistorted competition in the interests of all parties " (UWG, Art. 1). The first law on this came into force in 1945. As early as October 1930, a commission of experts headed by a Mr. Pfister from the Federal Office for Industry, Commerce and Labor held discussions on a preliminary draft by Professor Germann (Basel).

Principle (general clause)

According to the principle in Article 2 UWG, " any behavior or business conduct that is deceptive or otherwise contrary to the principle of good faith and which influences the relationship between competitors or between suppliers and customers " (UWG, Art. 2) is unfair and illegal . .

Eligibility to take legal action

On the one hand, the UWG provides a direct right of action for persons directly or indirectly affected by unfair competition from a competitor; on the other hand, the active legitimation offers authorized third parties (e.g. federal government, important industry associations) the opportunity to claim the initiation of proceedings. Persons directly (company / managing director) or indirectly (employees / customers) affected by unfair competition can make a claim:

  • to eliminate the unfair behavior,
  • on judicial determination of unfair competition,
  • to the surrender of the profit generated by the unfair behavior,
  • for compensation,
  • in the event of a particularly serious violation of personal circumstances to satisfaction ,
  • on omission.
  • to the publication (publicity) of the judgment to the extent to be determined by the judge.

In contrast to the distribution of profits, in order to successfully claim damages, there must be culpable behavior and, in accordance with the principle of an adequate causal relationship, this behavior must be suitable to achieve a corresponding result in the ordinary course of events. Furthermore, the plaintiff must have suffered verifiable damage.

Furthermore, after a threatened, irreparable damage has been substantiated, immediate action can be taken and, if necessary, even super-provisional (without hearing the other side), the judge can impose an omission and removal of the unfair situation.


Individual evidence

  1. IHK Stuttgart, lay advertising  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link / www.stuttgart.ihk24.de  
  2. Federal Act of September 30, 1943 on Unfair Competition (BS 2 951)
  3. ^ The unfair competition , NZZ , October 31, 1930, page b2