Colombia: Actos de Confusión y Actos de Imitación Como una Forma de Competencia Desleal en Colombia

Los dueños de las empresas que quieren mantener su negocio con un estado jurídico positivo y sin inconvenientes legales, son personas que están a favor de los buenos hábitos mercantiles que no perjudican a otras empresas. Con frecuencia, estos dueños practican actividades con grandes esfuerzos para llamar la atención de sus clientes, pero sin afectar a la competencia. Imagine que usted cumple con la premisa anterior, pero ¿qué ocurre si el dueño de otro negocio practica malos hábitos comerciales y su empresa o su marca se ve afectada por los métodos inadecuados de ese tercero? La respuesta es que está siendo víctima de competencia desleal. Puede ser que en este momento no comprenda muy bien de qué se trata el tema de esta publicación, pero en los próximos párrafos podrá descubrir en qué consiste.

En primera instancia, la competencia desleal es una actividad comercial que cumple con dos características específicas: la primera es que se realiza en el mercado y la segunda es que tiene objetivos concurrenciales, es decir, que llegan a muchas personas para aumentar la participación en el mercado de quien lo ejecuta o de un tercero. Esas actividades son realizadas de forma inadecuada e ignorando las reglas de honestidad que se establecen en la competencia entre empresas o marcas.

En una publicación anterior, usted puede revisar cuáles son los actos que se consideran desleales. A continuación, definiremos dos actos que son el objetivo de este tema: actos de confusión y actos de imitación.

La Ley 256 de 1996 dicta las normas sobre competencia desleal y en su artículo 1 refiere que la ley tiene el objetivo de garantizar la libre y leal competencia económica, mediante la prohibición de actos y conductas de competencia desleal para el beneficio de todas las personas que hagan parte de la actividad en el mercado. Lo anterior quiere decir que aquella persona o empresa que practique un acto de competencia desleal recibirá una sanción.

Ahora bien, ¿qué es un acto de confusión? El artículo 10 de la mencionada ley dice "... se considera desleal toda conducta que tenga por objeto o como efecto crear confusión con la actividad, las prestaciones mercantiles o el establecimiento ajeno". La finalidad de esta regla es que el consumidor sea consciente, siempre, de lo que compra y a quién se lo compra para decidir, sin confusiones, la adquisición de un producto u otro. Mientras las empresas cumplan lo que dispone este numeral, evitarán que los consumidores tengan dudas respecto al origen empresarial del producto o el servicio al que quieren acceder.

No está mal que algunas empresas tomen los colores de una marca o las características de un servicio para crear uno semejante; lo ilegal es que esa persona iguale a otra marca para confundir al consumidor y alejarlo de la marca real de la cual se ha copiado.

Por otro lado, se encuentran los actos de imitación y el artículo 14 los describe "... la imitación exacta y minuciosa de las prestaciones de un tercero se considerará desleal cuando genere confusión acerca de la procedencia empresarial de la prestación y comporte un aprovechamiento indebido de la reputación ajena".

Además, el mismo artículo especifica: "también se considerará desleal la imitación sistemática de las prestaciones e iniciativas empresariales de un competidor cuando dicha estrategia se halle encaminada a impedir u obstaculice su afirmación en el mercado y exceda de lo que, según las circunstancias, pueda reputarse como una respuesta natural del mercado".

En otras palabras, cuando una persona o empresa copia las características exactas de un producto o servicio y las presenta como propias, sin importar el daño que le estará causando a quien lo creó, entonces está incurriendo en un acto desleal y puede recibir una sanción.

Ambos actos suelen crear dudas y a veces son de difícil comprensión. Lo importante es que usted sepa diferenciarlos por lo siguiente: el acto de confusión involucra el signo distintivo de la empresa o la procedencia empresarial, mientras que el acto de imitación abarca el producto o servicio de la empresa. Ambos actos tienen la finalidad de brindarle al usuario o comprador la capacidad de elegir de forma consciente sin que tenga dudas al momento de adquirir algo.

Ejemplo de confusión:

La empresa Nestlé Colombia ha producido, durante muchos años, un café llamado Nescafé. La marca ya es reconocida en todo el país y los compradores se identifican con la tipografía del producto y los colores tierra que lo hacen único. Suponga que otra empresa, en aras de querer impulsar un producto y ganar público, toma la tipografía de Nestlé y sus colores para crear un producto parecido. Aunque este no sea exactamente igual que el original, puede crear confusión en los compradores que no se fijan bien al momento de adquirir el café. En ese caso, el líder de la marca estaría siendo víctima de competencia desleal y quien intenta confundir al público puede recibir una sanción por la acción deshonesta. En este acto se pone en duda a la empresa que produce el producto.

Ejemplo de imitación:

Una empresa que también necesita impulsarse y ganar público, saca al mercado una bebida gaseosa igual a la Coca Cola y la presenta como si fuera propia. Tal vez los usuarios no se den cuenta que es una imitación porque es igual y esto traería graves problemas a la empresa líder que sí creó la marca desde hace muchos años. Este acto de competencia desleal también recibe sanciones según la Ley 256 de 1996.
Resulta esencial destacar que para cada uno de estos problemas que requieren de asesoría legal, puede buscar una oficina de abogados certificada que le ayude a resolver su trámite en poco tiempo y con resultados positivos.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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