Imagine that you are a small business and you are trying to grow into a successful company. In order to do this, there are a lot of factors that need to fall into place just so. You need a great product or service; you need to implement that product or service efficiently; and you need to have a great reputation as a company with good customer service and dependable products. It is very difficult to achieve all of these factors.
So while you are journeying towards this tough objective, a person or organization comes out publicly and disparages your company or product. Criticism is one thing -- but what this person/party did is lie about your company or product.
This is a situation that falls under the legal umbrella of trade libel. Trade libel is a business tort, and it relates to the harmful comments of one party against another that are not true. Libel is something that is written while slander is something that is spoken. Both fall under this category and are considered defamation.
In order to prove defamation, the company would have to establish that the comments made by the person or party were harmful; they would have to prove that the statement is not true; and they would have to establish the injury caused by the statement to their brand, reputation and company.
These trade libel cases are often very tricky, and it behooves companies that are in this unenviable situation to consult with an experienced attorney.