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A comparative advertising campaign is where a company will compare its products or services with those of a competitor and point out to the customer why its services or products are better. 

There are instances when a comparative advertisement is lawful. A comparative advertisement will be permitted under the Comparative Advertising Directive if it fulfils the following conditions:

  • It is not misleading i.e. the advertisement does not deceive or is not likely to deceive those it is addressed to or who may watch it and does not affect economic behaviour or be likely to injure a competitor;
  • It compares goods and services which meet the same needs or which are intended to be used for the same purpose;
  • It objectively compares features of goods and services, including price;
  • It does not discredit trademarks, trade names, other distinguishing marks, goods, services, activities or circumstances of a competitor;
  • It does not take unfair advantage of the reputation of a trade mark, trade name or other distinguishing marks of a competitor;
  • It does not present goods or services as imitations or replicas of goods or services which bear a protected trademark or trade name; or
  • It does not create confusion in regards to the advertisers and competitor’s trademark, trade names, other distinguishing marks, goods and services.

If a comparative advertisement does not fall within these rules, this will expose the advertiser to claims for trade libel, malicious falsehood, infringement of copyright and passing off.  At Myerson, we can help you bring or defend these claims. 

It is important to note that other than bringing proceedings as mentioned above, individual consumers or businesses cannot take direct action if they have a complaint regarding comparative advertising.

However, in the UK, the government has legislated to allow certain authorities (primarily the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)) to initiate proceedings on behalf of traders and consumers.  The CMA, Trading Standards Services (TSS) and other consumer protection organisations can seek Court orders preventing the publication of unlawful comparative advertisements.  The TSS can first require that all other ways of dealing with the complaint i.e. via the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) are used and have failed to prevent the continual use of the offending advertisement(s). However, the ASA will only entertain complaints from competitors if no legal action is envisaged or in process.

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Our Approach & Our Experience

Intellectual property proceedings such as trade libel, malicious falsehood, infringement of copyright and passing off can be technical and complicated and are dealt with by specialist Courts in England and Wales.  At Myerson, we can provide you with swift advice whether you are bringing or defending a claim.

Myerson are members of the Intellectual Property Lawyers Association (IPLA).  The IPLA is an association of approximately 66 law firms who have an established intellectual property department.  The fact we are a member of the IPLA demonstrates that we have extensive and detailed experience in the conduct of IP disputes in the UK.  One of the main objectives of the IPLA is to lobby for improvements to IP law and practice for the benefit of those who hold IP rights.

Myerson are a nationally recognised law firm with a large team of intellectual property solicitors.  Our intellectual property team is ranked by the prestigious Legal 500 law firm directory.  Therefore, you can be assured that you will receive the best quality advice and service offering.

Myerson are members of the Intellectual Property Lawyers Association (IPLA).  The IPLA is an association of approximately 66 law firms who have an established intellectual property department.  The fact we are a member of the IPLA demonstrates that we have extensive and detailed experience in the conduct of IP disputes in the UK.  One of the main objectives of the IPLA is to lobby for improvements to IP law and practice for the benefit of those who hold IP rights.

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Our Promise & Core Values

Our Promise

The Myerson Promise - Our Partners, team of lawyers and support staff commit to giving our clients more.

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To always give you clear, jargon-free advice.
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To be completely transparent about our fees from the outset.
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Progress every matter in an efficient and timely matter.

Our Core Values

Our core values are at the centre of everything we do.

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We are always professional but ensure that we are friendly and approachable.
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We are determined and enthusiastic about supporting our clients and our people.
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We willingly take responsibility and can be relied on to be commercial, effective and efficient.

Meet Our Specialists

Home-grown or recruited from national, regional or City firms. Our specialists are experts in their fields and respected by their peers.

Jonathan Hassall

Jonathan Hassall

Jonathan is a Partner in our Commercial Litigation department

Carla Murray

Carla Murray

Carla is a Partner in our Corporate Commercial department

Vicky Biggs

Vicky Biggs

Vicky is a Senior Solicitor in our Commercial Litigation department

Philip Ball

Philip Ball

Philip is a Senior Solicitor in our Corporate Commercial department

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Please send us your enquiry using this enquiry form, or you can send us an email to lawyers@myerson.co.uk

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