An act of deception has won many a military battle – from Sun Tzu to the Trojan Horse, from Alexander the Great, Hannibal or Napolean to the Spaniards defeating the overwhelmingly more numerous Incas.
Here are some examples that I have seen deployed to mislead a competitor – what would you add?
- Creating a ‘smokescreen’ of patent filings covering technology of lesser commercial interest to make it difficult to ascertain the actual technology direction or new product under development.
- Creating a similar ‘smokescreen’ of trade mark filings to protect a new brand or new category for a brand.
- ‘Leaking’ misleading information to a known informant.
- ‘Seeding’ competitive intelligence sources with additional information that whilst true, suggests a direction or strategy other than the intended course
Deceptive practices always carry the risk of breaching anti-trust / competition law and, in my view are rarely warranted. But don’t let an opponent out-manoeuvre you by deception. Look for facts, and specialist, local knowledge and verify them.