European Commission


Case detail

Directive article Article 5 2.
Article 6 1. (f)
Article 6 2.
Article 7 2.
National ID ERS/084/08
Country Portugal Decision date 30/07/2010
Common name Decision type Court decision, first degree
Court Conselho Directivo da Entidade Reguladora da Saúde (Porto) Plaintiff(s) SMILE – Clínica de Medicina Dentária Lda.
Court translation Directing Council of the Regulatory Body for Health (Porto) Defendant(s) SMILE UK Ltd. – Portuguese Branch
Subject identity of the trader
Keywords identity of the tradermisleading advertisingmisleading commercial practicestransactional decision

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Traders who, through actions or omissions, fail to clearly distinguish themselves in their advertising from other traders with similar names, are liable to cause consumers to make transactional decisions they would otherwise not have made by misleading them as to the identity of the trader.


The defendant advertised its services using flyers identifying itself as "SMILE Clinics" or "SMILE Dental Clinics". The plaintiff argued, inter alia, that such advertising was misleading because consumers could be misled into thinking that the clinic indicated in the advertisements was somehow affiliated with the plaintiff’s own business.

This caused the consumers to take transactional decisions they would not have taken otherwise, due to the fact that they were misled as to the identity of the trader with whom they were dealing.

Legal issue

Does the use in advertisments by a trader of a name similar to the name of another trader that provides the same services constitute a misleading commercial practice?


The definition of "misleading" in Articles 7 and 9 of the Portuguese Decree-Law 57/2008 of 26 March (implementing the UCP Directive) does not require the information put forward by the trader to be factually inaccurate. An advertisement can also be considered an unfair commercial practice in the event the information contained therein is merely incomplete, and can mislead consumers.

The evidence presented in this case demonstrated that a large number of consumers were in fact misled by the advertisement as to the identity of the trader.

  URL Decision Decision full text
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The court ruled in favour of the plaintiff: the defendant must always identify itself using its complete name in advertising, so as not to mislead consumers any more. 

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