As of January 10th 2016, Companies will be allowed to  use competitor names and or trademarks in comparative advertisements

The regulation on Commercial Advertisements and Unfair Commercial Practices (the "Regulation"), which permits comparative advertisements entered into force on January 10th, 2015, although the Regulation prohibited direct references to competitor names or trademarks in comparative advertisements by postponing the effective date of Article 8/2.  which will come into effect on January 10th 2016.

The regulation allows advertisers to suggest the supremacy of their products and or services by using competitor names, trademarks, logos, brands or other distinguishing marks, expressions as comparisons.

It is crucial to bear in mind that comparative advertisements using competitiors as a comparison, will only be deemed lawful if the advertisement meets the criteria in accordance with Article 8/2 of the Regulation as follows:

  1. They must not be misleading and deceptive.
  2. They must not cause unfair competition.
  3. The goods or services compared, must have the same qualifications and respond to the same consumer demand or need.
  4. The issue compared must be beneficial to the consumer,
  5. One or more material, essential, verifiable and typical properties of the compared goods or services, including the price, must be compared in an objective way,
  6. Assertions based on objective, measurable and numeric data must be proved by scientific tests, reports or documents.
  7. They must not be discrediting or denigrating the competitors' intellectual and industrial property rights, commercial name, company name, other distinguishing marks, goods, services, activities and other features,
  8. When comparing goods or services whose origin is indicated, goods or services compared must be from the same geographic origin,
  9. They must not cause confusion between advertisers' and competitors' brand, commercial name, company name or other distinguishing marks and goods or services.

It is noteworthy to mention that the practice and precedents of this broad criteria are still under development. Advertisers should be very cautious while using competitors name, brands or trademarks within comparative advertisements, due to the fact, that the lack of any single criteria within the advertisement, may lead substantial monetary fines or legal action and also the removal of advertisement.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.