We’re all familiar with the concept of personal injury. Also known as “torts,” personal injury lawsuits attempt to achieve financial compensation for a person who is physically, emotionally or economically injured by another person.
What about when a person or a company does damage to your company? What recourse do you have? “Business tort litigation” covers situations in which your company has suffered economic harm — or will suffer economic harm — due to the negligent or purposeful actions of another company or an individual person.
Common Types of Business Torts
- Theft: Business theft takes many forms, from the theft of equipment to the theft of company secrets or customers. Proving damages is relatively straightforward in a case of equipment theft. However, a successful lawsuit against a company or individual for theft of company secrets or customers must be able to prove that the plaintiff’s company suffered — or will suffer — specific, accountable economic damages.
- Unfair competition: There are many forms of unfair competition lawsuits. Copyright infringement is a form of unfair competition. Another type of intellectual property violation that is a form of unfair competition is known as “trade dress” infringement, when a competitor introduces a product or service into the market that is so similar to your company’s product that it confuses — and is intended to confuse — customers and potential customers into thinking the product is yours.
- Wrongful interference: If a defendant intentionally interferes with another company’s business interests, causing economic harm, then that company may have a viable business tort claim for wrongful interference. Examples of wrongful interference lawsuits include tortious interference with existing contracts and interference with prospective business opportunities.
- Disparagement: This is a business tort version of the personal injury torts of libel and slander. If an individual or company makes false statements about the quality of your company’s goods or services, and those false statements cause your company to lose business, then you may have a legitimate claim for business disparagement. A common Internet-based example of disparagement involves intentionally false or fake reviews of a company product or service.