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Division 7 General Business Regulations

§ 17208. Limitation of actions

Any action to enforce any cause of action pursuant to this chapter shall be commenced within four years after the cause of action accrued. No cause of action barred under existing law on the effective date of this section shall be revived by its enactment.

Added Stats 1977 ch 299 § 1.

Collateral References:
Witkin Summary (9th ed) Equity § 93, Torts § 1332

Plaintiff's claim for unfair competition would not be barred by the four year statute of limitations (B &P C § 17208) since the alleged wrongs (the wrongful use and dilution of service marks) were multiple, continuous acts, and some of the acts occurred within the limitations period. Suh v Yang (1997, ND Cal) 987 F Supp 783
Any action on any Unfair Competition Law (UCL) cause of action is subject to the four-year period of limitations created by B & P C § 17208. Accordingly, in a UCL action to recover unpaid overtime wages, the shorter periods of limitation applicable to contractual or statutory wage claims did not govern. Cortez v Purolator Air Filtration Products Co. (2000) 23 Cal 4th 163, 178, 96 Cal Rptr 2d 518, 999 P2d 706
Plaintiff's claims for fraud, constructive fraud, breach of contract, and unfair competition all arose out of an alleged misappropriation of plaintiff's trade secrets; thus, the statute of limitations on all five claims began running at the same time. Forcier v Microsoft Corp. (2000, ND Cal) 123 F. Supp. 2d 520; 2000 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17861
Where a manufacturer of endoscopes sued a restorer of that equipment and a solicitor of business for the restorer for trademark infringement due to retention of the manufacturer's name on completely rebuilt endoscopes, the manufacturer's cause of action accrued when the restorer discontinued etching its own name on rebuilt endoscopes; the suit was thus timely. Karl Storz Endoscopy-Am., Inc. v Surgical Techs., Inc. (2002, CA9 Cal) 285 F.3d 848; 2002 U.S. App. LEXIS 6026
In an action against landlords who violated a rent control ordinance by requiring prospective tenants to sign long-term leases as a condition of tenancy, sufficient evidence supported a finding of civil conspiracy, which meant that the four-year statute of limitations for unfair business practices had not begun to run because the landlords were still enforcing their unlawful long-term leases. People v Beaumont Investment, Ltd. (2003, Cal App 6th Dist) 2003 Cal App LEXIS 1215
Retail stores' request to dismiss the husband and wife's claims under B & P C §§ 17200 and 17500 as barred by B & P C § 17208 or CCP § 338(a) was granted because whether the statute of limitations was three or four years, the husband and the wife's action for unfair competition, which was based on claims that the retail stores sold cigarettes to the husband when he was a minor, accrued, at the latest, in 1968, and the complaint contained no specific allegations of negligent and intentional false advertising in violation of B & P C § 17500 in the three or four years prior to the commencement of the action. Harshbarger v Philip Morris, Inc. (2003, ND Cal) 2003 US Dist LEXIS 25023
Motion to dismiss was granted with regard to the unfair competition, B & P C § 17200 et seq., and the false advertising, B & P C § 17500 et seq., claims against the cigarette manufacturers and retailers because claims against the manufacturers were subject to the preemptive effect of the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act of 1965 (FCLAA), as amended by the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act of 1969, 15 U.S.C.S. § 1331 et seq., which required that plaintiffs claims had to be based on events that occurred before 1969 and equitable tolling did not apply because the dangers of cigarettes and the health hazards of smoking and the addictive nature of nicotine were common knowledge. The claims against the retailers were dismissed because they were barred by CC § 1714.45, California's immunity statute. Rodarte v Philip Morris, Inc. (2003, CD Cal) 2003 US Dist LEXIS 25067
B & P C § 17208 imposes a four-year statute for claims of unfair business practices. Deutsch v Turner Corp. (2002) 324 F.3d 692; 2003 U.S. App. LEXIS 3937

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