Yelp is suing three individuals and a reputation management firm for unfair competition, breach of contract, trademark infringement and other illegal activities. The company that stands accused is DOES 1-20 while the individuals named in the lawsuit do business as RevLeap, Yelpdirector and Revpley. The suit was filed on Feb. 13 in the Northern District Court of California.
While some consumers may appreciate the ability to find businesses and read reviews from customers on Yelp, many business owners who receive negative reviews may believe the service is controversial. These business owners may use reputation management firms that promise to remove poor reviews and add positive reviews, but Yelp says that these are scams.
According to the lawsuit, the allegation of unfair competition is being brought on the state and federal levels. Yelp also accuses the individuals and company of trademark dilution, cybersquatting, false advertising and interference with contractual relations. The owner of RevLeap rejects the suit and Yelp's claims. He said in an email that his company's services are legal and level the field of competition for all business owners. The RevLeap owner also believes that the filter Yelp uses is harmful. The filter identifies biased or fake reviews, only showing reviews that it determines are authentic.
Companies that believe they have been victimized by the illegal activities of other businesses could file lawsuits against those businesses for damages. Compensation might cover losses associated with the alleged actions of the defendant, and filing suit might force the dependent to stop the behavior that is apparently causing the damage. The companies who might pursue such an action could seek guidance about complex legal issues from business litigation attorneys.
Source: Inc.com, "Yelp Is Suing Two Reputation Management Companies", Julie Bort, Feb. 23, 2015
Source: Yelp, "Case3:15-cv-00693," Feb. 13, 2015