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OLG Frankfurt – Misleading advertising featuring superlatives

May 2019 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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Take care when using superlatives in advertising. A ruling by the OLG Frankfurt, the Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt, from February 14, 2019 demonstrates their potential to easily mislead, as well as violate competition law (Az. 6 U 3/18).

We at GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte note that adverts featuring misleading information are in breach of competition law. Particular attention should therefore be paid to how one uses superlatives, especially given the OLG Frankfurt’s recent ruling.

When traveling, it is practical to have suitcases that weigh as little as possible. It is with this in mind that a suitcase manufacturer decided to promote its luggage items at an international trade fair with the banner “World’s Lightest”. The suitcases could also be ordered online on the company’s websites. However, a competitor noticed that its own suitcases were no heavier, and issued the rival firm with a warning.

The case ended up before the OLG Frankfurt, which held that advertising featuring the words “World’s Lightest” is misleading if the luggage items in question are not the lightest in the world when compared to products from other manufacturers with similar volumes and dimensions. In these instances, statements of this kind were said to be unfair and misleading, even when used as an eye-catcher at a fair.

Lawyers with experience in competition law can offer advice.

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