Unfair Advertising with “Known from…”

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Violation of Competition Law – Judgment of the Higher Regional Court of Hamburg

Many companies advertise with the note “known from…”. After a judgment of the Hanseatic Higher Regional Court of Hamburg dated September 21, 2023 (Case No.: 15 U 108/22), stricter rules may apply to this type of advertising. According to the judgment, it is not sufficient to have placed advertisements in the respective media. Rather, there must have been editorial coverage of the company. In addition, a source or a corresponding link must be provided.

Advertising with one’s own level of recognition is generally not prohibited. However, those who advertise with the note “known from…” and the naming of the medium must be aware that it is not sufficient to have placed an advertisement in the said medium. If there is no editorial reporting, this form of advertising constitutes misleading of consumers and a violation of the Unfair Competition Act (UWG), as advised by the commercial law firm MTR Legal Attorneys.

“Known from…” Only Through Editorial Reporting

In the proceeding before the Higher Regional Court of Hamburg, the defendant offered on her website the mediation of real estate sellers and brokers. Moreover, the defendant advertised with the note “known from…” and then listed prominent media by name. No links or sources were given. In fact, the company had only placed advertisements in the mentioned media. There had been no editorial reporting about the company in the listed media.

A competition association challenged the advertising as unfair. The lawsuit was successful in the appeal proceedings at the Higher Regional Court of Hamburg.

When a company advertises its notoriety from specifically named media, consumers assume that this notoriety is based on editorial reporting, not on placed advertising. It is not required that the reporting be positive; neutral reporting is sufficient. However, consumers do not associate negative reporting with the statement “known from…”, the Higher Regional Court made clear.

Requirement to Provide a Link or Source

Furthermore, when advertising with notoriety from named media, a source or a link must also be provided. Only in this way can the consumer understand the occasion and manner of the reporting, the Hanseatic Higher Regional Court further stated. Without the indication of such a source, there is a violation of § 5a para. 1 UWG. The plaintiff, therefore, had a right to an injunction, the court decided.

Violations of competition law can lead to warnings or injunction lawsuits. To avoid such consequences, a lawyer experienced in competition law should be consulted.

MTR Legal Attorneys advises in competition law.

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