A small San Francisco boutique has filed a class action lawsuit against the Ivanka Trump fashion brand alleging “unfair competition.” According to a news report in The Christian Science Monitor, the lawsuit claims that the first daughter’s close relationship with her father, President Donald Trump, and the role she plays in the administration, gives her business an unfair advantage over others.
The lawsuit was filed in San Francisco Superior Court by the family-owned Modern Appealing Clothing. It alleges that unethical promotion of the Ivanka Trump brand by the current administration has violated the U.S. Constitution as well as a California law, which protects business against unfair competition. The complaint also alleges that the sales of Ivanka Trump products have surged since the election because of these “unfair or fraudulent” promotional activities.
Accusations of Unfair Competition
President Trump’s business interests were of concern to many as he campaigned for the presidency. His critics have questioned his conflicts of interests, both nationally and internationally, saying that it has the potential to compromise the nation’s best interests.
Ivanka Trump’s businesses have also been in the limelight. Trump fired back against Nordstrom when the retail giant announced it would not be carrying his daughter’s line of products because they were doing poorly.
The administration meanwhile has criticized anti-Trump movements attempt to steer shoppers away from purchases that benefit the family. Press Secretary Sean Spicer publicly defended Ivanka Trump’s brand while Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, encourage Fox News viewers to buy items from Ivanka’s women’s fashion line.
Ivanka Trump’s brand made about $100 million in revenue in 2015 and sales have skyrocketed more than 300 percent just since the start of this year.
Protections for Businesses
California’s Unfair Competition Law (“UCL”), Business & Professions Code Section 17200, was designed to protect competitors and consumers from illegal, fraudulent, and “unfair” business practices. Until 2004, however, individuals or groups that never suffered any loss or harm could sue on behalf of the “general public” without satisfying traditional class action requirements.
Class action lawsuits such as these give the public as well as smaller entities the firepower to go after larger entities suspected of engaging in unethical or wrongful conduct. Our California class action attorneys will be watching this case with great interest.