Can I sue someone for stealing my business?

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Can I sue someone for stealing my business?

We started an online business, and it started becoming very profitable. My wife’s “Friend” found out about it and copied everything. She copied our bestselling products, posted them on the same website, and undercut all of our products by $10. Everytime we add a new product, she copies it and undercuts us. It’s getting very frustrating. My wife is having a nervous breakdown, and losing alot of weight. It’s like she’s out to destroy us. Also, one very important fact, is she is not a US resident. She is from Japan and not allowed to run a business in the US. Anything we can do legally?

Asked on May 28, 2012 under Business Law, Hawaii


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, unless your wife's "friend" obtained the information she is using to compete with you in some unlawful or improper way--

* for example, she worked with you, and used information obtained as your employer or partner for herself

* she falsely pretended to want to invest in your business in order to see your business plan, marketing, cost structure, etc.

* she pretended to be you or your wife while contacting your vendors for information

* etc.

--there would be nothing you can do; competition is allowed, even cuthroat competition, and there is no law against copying what another is doing and trying to do it better, cheaper, etc.

On the other hand, if she did obtain the information improperly or unlawfully, you may have a cause of action and should consult with an attorney with business litigation experience.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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