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Unfair competition

According to paragraph 1.15 of Article 1 of the Law "On Counteracting Monopolistic Activity and Developing Competition" (hereinafter - the Law),  the unfair competition is defined as any activities of a business entity or multiple business entities aimed at acquisition of benefits in the entrepreneurial activity which contradict this Law, other acts of anti-monopoly legislation or standards of fair practices and reasonableness, and may cause or have caused damages to other competitors or harm their reputation.

In accordance with paragraphs 1-3 of Article 1029 of the Civil Code of the Republic of Belarus, the unfair competition includes:

1) all actions that may, by any means, cause the confusion with regard to legal persons, private entrepreneurs, goods, works, services or business activity of a competitor;

2) false allegations made while carrying out business activities which may discredit legal persons, private entrepreneurs, goods, works, services, or business activities of a competitor;

3) indications or allegations the use of which while carrying out business activities may be misleading as to the nature, properties, applicability or quantity of goods, works, services of a competitor.

Paragraph 4 implies that the said list remains open as it was determined that the unfair competition  also  includes other actions taken while carrying out business activities, which contradict the requirements of the above mentioned Code and other acts of legislation of the Republic of Belarus with regard to the competition.

Article 16 of the Law contains the more detailed suggested list of the forms of the unfair competition in contrast with Article 1029 of the  Civil Code of the Republic of Belarus, and allows to refer to the unfair competition other activities that are not listed in this article and that are contrary to the requirements of the Law and other legislative acts on the competition.

Article 16. Ban on the unfair competition:
Article 16. Ban on the unfair competition

1. It is not allowed to carry out the unfair competition, which includes:

1.1. Actions that may cause the confusion as to business entities, goods or business activities of competitors, including:

- the illegal use by a business entity of a brand name, trademark (service mark), geographical indication which do not belong to it on the goods, their packaging, shop signs, when demonstrating exhibit items at exhibitions and trade fairs, in advertisement, print media, and other documentation, including introduction of the goods to the civil commerce with illegal use of intellectual property objects, means of individualization of the parties to civil transactions or their goods.

- the illegal copying of exterior of the goods of other business entities, except for cases where copying of the goods or its parts (units, components) is exclusively stipulated by their technical application.

- the introduction of goods of other business entities to the civil commerce with the use of own means of individualization of goods, except as otherwise provided for in an agreement concluded between business entities.

1.2 Actions taken while carrying out business activities, capable of discrediting a business entity, the goods or business activity of a competitor, i.a. as a result of dissemination of false, unreliable, inaccurate, corrupted information directly or through other persons, in any form and by any means, including the data which may contain information that injures business reputation of a business entity or its founder (participant, owner of the property) or an employee, and (or) may undermine the business entity’s credibility as a manufacturer of goods.

1.3. Actions taken while carrying out business activities, which may be misleading as to the manufacturer, nature, application properties, quality, method, place of manufacturing, applicability or quantity of goods of a competitor i.a. implemented by an improper comparison of the goods produced by a business entity with the goods of a competitor as well as dissemination, in any form and by any means, of the information containing false or inaccurate comparative features of the own goods and the goods of a competitor that may influence consumers’ freedom of choice when purchasing goods or entering into a transaction.

1.4 . Appeals by a business entity to other business entities, other actions or threat of an action, directly or through other persons, aimed at obstruction of competitor's business relationships, their disruption or termination, obstruction of a business activity of a competitor that acts on the given market or seeks to enter it, i.a. in order to enter into business relationships with its business partner;

1.5. Dissemination by a business entity, in any form and by any means, of false statements and information regarding its own product in order to conceal the product’s inconformity to its intended purpose or requirements in respect of quality, application and other characteristics.

1.6. Actions of a business entity, taken directly or through other persons, aimed at internal disorganization of competitor's business activities, i.a. providing the competitor’s employees with  various material and other benefits in order to induce them to neglect employment responsibilities or migrate to an employer which provides such benefits.

1.7 Actions of a business entity aimed at the creation of a situation on the market in which the business activities of a competitor that acts on this market or seeks to enter it will be unprofitable or will be carried out by a competitor under extremely disadvantageous conditions.

2. It is not allowed to carry out the unfair competition activities related to the acquisition and use of the exclusive rights to means of individualization of the parties to commercial transactions as well as goods.

In order to qualify an action as the act of unfair competition, it has to possess the following characteristics:

  • The unfair competition is only an active behavior, i.e. lack of action may not be considered as the unfair competition. 
  • The abovementioned actions can only be committed by business entities, that is, according to Article 1 of the Law, by natural or legal persons, other persons at civil law that are carrying out business activities or have the right to do so. 
  • The ultimate target of the said actions must be the acquisition of benefits while carrying out business activities. 
  • The actions of business entities must contradict the provisions of the Civil Code of the Republic of Belarus, or the Law, or any other legislative acts of competition law, or standards of fair practices and reasonableness. 
  • The actions are committed while carrying out business activities. Nonetheless, the legislation of the Republic of Belarus does not indicate the person who carries out business activities: whether it is the business entity that commits the respective actions, or the person whose rights have been violated, or both of them. 
  • The possibility of causing damages or the infliction of damages to other competing business entities or injury to their reputation. 

The acts of unfair competition are being increasingly committed by the use of intellectual property objects. 

The possible remedies in the case of unfair competition:

  • Administrative protection
  • Judicial protection

 

If you have any questions with regard to unfair competition, feel free to contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Koubriakov, Tseliatsitskaya & Partners, Ltd.   220004 Minsk , avenue Pobediteley, 17, of. 1015, Republic of Belarus.    Tel/Fax: (017) 226 99 34.  License for rendering of legal services No. 02240/1410 issued by the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Belarus  pursuant to the decision No. 181/1 dated November 29, 2013/span>

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