The Economic Damage Resulting From An Act Of Unfair Competition Cannot Be Presumed, It Must Be Established

Author:Mr Geoffroy Lacroix
Profession:Soulier Avocats

In a decision issued on September 18 2019, the Cour de Cassation (French Supreme Court) recalled that while disparagement which constitutes an act of unfair competition necessarily results in a business disruption, a claim for compensation must be dismissed wherever the existence of the alleged damage is not duly established.

In the matter at hand, a company specialized in the design, manufacture and marketing of multisport playgrounds sued one of its competitors for acts of unfair competition by disparagement and sought compensation for the damage suffered1.

The plaintiff complained in particular that its competitor criticized its model, suggesting that it would have serious disadvantages.

Although the appellate judges acknowledged the existence of the alleged acts of unfair competition and the existence of a resulting business disruption, they dismissed the claim for compensation on the ground that the damage suffered was not established.

The unsuccessful plaintiff lodged an appeal before the Cour de Cassation and argued that the disparagement that the Court of Appeals itself had acknowledged had caused a business disruption that resulted in a damage, at least a moral one. In particular, it referred to the case law according to which acts of unfair competition necessarily cause damage.

However, the Cour de Cassation dismissed the appeal and...

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