A recent Illinois Appellate Court ruling upheld a carpet cleaner’s claim against a competitor that its competitors’ use of cleaning chemicals banned by the EPA that do a better cleaning job than his legal cleaning solutions constituted unfair competition in Illinois. Traditionally unfair business competition claims involve a competitors’ theft or misuse of business information, poaching protected customers or employees, or publishing false or defamatory information. None of those were involved here. The unfair competition claim was based on the competitor’s illegal or unethical conduct that did not directly relate to the operation of the plaintiff’s business. This suit is an example of the creative application of existing unfair competition law, and more suits like this should be expected.
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