… sue your customers.

There have been various acts performed by businesses, small to large, around the world to protect their markets. These often involve dodgy deals with partners, defamation, "lock-in" and threats.

The recent SCO vs. The World lawsuits have demostrated a new strategy: sue your customers. SCO sued two of its (former) customers, Autozone and Daimler Chrysler, essentially because they switched from SCO's products to competitors'. The expectation, one can assume, was that SCO's current customers would think twice about switching too. That remains to be seen, but signs are that the strategy may not have been thought through completely.

Using SCO as an example, perhaps, a bus company in France, Transports Schiocchet Excursions, has sued some former passengers because they started a car pool. They initially lost the case, but they have appealed it to a higher court, claiming a loss of €2,000,000. Their claim is that the car pool is an "unfair and parasitical competition". "Unfair" is a reasonable word, but what does "parasitical" mean in this context? It's not as though the women sued are attaching their cars to the buses to be towed to Luxembourg. Are they travelling in the buses' slip-streams? Maybe they're reprocessing the buses' exhaust to use as fuel for their own cars.

Be that as it may, I can't wait for Aer Lingus to sue Ryanair's customers for not flying with it. Perhaps Dublin Bus might sue all Galway residents for not using its routes. Or maybe Eason's in Dublin might sue me for buying a book in the Athlone store.


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