In competition law, ‘free-riding’ is when one business takes advantage of the reputation and techniques belonging to and used by a well-known business.
A business can be held liable for acts of free-riding even if the business that it is taking advantage of is involved in an entirely different sector or industry.
The person responsible for the free-riding acts might not necessarily seek to create confusion.
At first, free-riding acts used to be when the reputation of a third party was infringed upon meaning that the investments made by the original business were effectively redirected to the free-riding one. However, this area of law has evolved and now free-riding acts may include the mere fact of taking advantage of another’s intellectual work even if they did not want to appropriate its reputation.