China: Risky Business - Liability For False Or Misleading Advertising Under PRC Law (Chinese)

Last Updated: 1 November 2016
Article by Richard Bell and Victor Yang

商业风险 - 中国误导性虚假广告的法律责任

概述

过去几年中跨境电子商务在中国蓬勃发展。许多因素造就了今日的辉煌包括:科技水平的进步、中国日益壮大的中产阶级和中国政府为有效进口而积极推动保税区建设。根据最近的估算,电子商务的所产生价值在2015年超过3万亿美元。

无论是通过电子商务平台还是其他传统途径,制造商想要在中国推广销售他们的产品,都需要清楚地意识到中国对于禁止误导性虚假广告有着严格的法律规定。

本文概述了误导性宣传在中国的现状以及对于贸易者随之而来的法律风险。

关于误导性宣传的法律

在中国与误导性广告相关的法律法规如下:

  1. 反不正当竞争法
  2. 广告法
  3. 最高人民法院关于审理不正当竞争民事案件应用法律若干问题的解释("司法解释")

什么是误导性宣传?

反不正当竞争法第9条规定:

"经营者不得利用广告或者其他方法,对商品的质量、制作成分、性能、用途、生产者、有效期限、产地等作引人误解的虚假宣传。"

广告法第4条进一步规定:

"广告不得含有虚假或者引人误解的内容,不得欺骗、误导消费者。"

首先值得注意的是, 除广告以外的其他宣传形式也需要符合反不正当竞争法第9条的规定。因此必须要认识到法律对于任何形式的宣传有着广泛的适用性,不仅仅是广告,"其他方式"的宣传也适用。该兜底条款的措辞,可以确保没有一种宣传形式能够避开法律的管制。

根本而论, 对商品的质量、制作成分、性能、用途、生产者、有效期限、产地任何形式的宣传都需要符合该法条的规定。

司法解释的第8条款制订了详细的规定,从司法实践的视角,判断何种行为会构成误导性的虚假宣传行为:

经营者具有下列行为之一,足以造成相关公众误解的,可以认定为反不正当竞争法第9条第一款规定的误导性的虚假宣传行为:

  1. 对商品作片面的宣传或者对比的;
  2. 将科学上未定论的观点、现象等当作既定事实用于商品宣传的;
  3. 以歧义性语言或者其他引人误解的方式进行商品宣传的。

最高人民法院曾报道过一起经典案例, 涉案方为福建省福清大闽生物工程有限公司与福州南海岸生物工程有限公司,判定禁止贸易商或服务供应商进行误导性宣传。

在实践中,贸易商经常将自己的商品与其竞争对手的商品进行片面对比,即扬己之长克敌之短。但是,即使该陈述是准确无误的,若损害了其他贸易商的利益,该陈述也可能违背第8条的规定。上述宣传也可能违反了反不正当竞争法第14条的规定,以及关于"商业诋毁"的规定。

对于产品的宣传需要简明准确。贸易商应当仔细推敲广告中的措辞。当某特定短语有两种或两种以上不同的解释时,其中一种或两种解释都涉嫌误导消费者时,则有可能违反了第8条的规定。贸易商因此要仔细考虑某一特定陈述是否有一种以上含义。

现实生活中,贸易商为了推广自己产品而采用夸大宣传的形式是常见的,也可以理解。因此,重要的是需要确认夸大宣传是否在中国属于为不正当竞争的手段。因此,司法解释第8条做出了如下规定:

"以明显的夸张方式宣传商品,不足以造成相关公众误解的,不属于引人误解的虚假宣传行为。"

以虚构的事实所作出的宣传,是明显具有误导性的。但是,如果宣传是基于事实上的,但是在一定程度上并不精确或完整 ,当满足下列条件时属于误导性宣传:

  • 该宣传足以就问题产品本身或者其特性误导消费者;
  • 贸易商从宣传中获益 – 例如从中获得经济利益。

总之,如果对于宣传的性质无法确认时,法院会基于该贸易商的意图以及其实际造成的危害或损失来做出判决。法院会考虑的因素有,日常生活的经验,大众的关注程度,可能导致的潜在误解,以及实际情况和有关于问题产品的事实。

责任

根据反不正当竞争法24条对于做出误导性宣传的法律后果,除了向第三方进行赔偿(例如有竞争关系的贸易方或消费者):

"经营者利用广告或者其他方法,对商品作引人误解的虚假宣传的,监督检查部门应当责令停止违法行为,消除影响,可以根据情节处以一万元以上二十万元以下的罚款。"

在中国,私人消费者为了获得一定的罚金倾向于结成联盟对发布虚假或误导性广告的贸易商进行投诉。尽管这些罚款是合理的,多次违规下金额可以叠加。这类投诉很难抗辩并且经常占用宝贵的经营时间。

最重要是虚假误导会影响公司声誉从而影响销售。对此贸易商们避之不及。

结论

为了成功推销产品并且避免承担不必要的法律责任和对公司声誉的损害,贸易商应当要对于误导、虚假宣传方面的法律了解透彻,并且根据相关法律修改自身的广告。一旦陷入麻烦,贸易商需要谨慎小心。若不符合中国法律的规定,在电视和网络上即便是貌似最聪明的广告语对经营者的业务影响也可能是弊大于利。

Risky Business - Liability For False Or Misleading Advertising Under PRC Law (Chinese)

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