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Case detail

B a c k

Directive article Article 6 1. (b)
Article 6 2. (a)
National ID 11724/2010, VII d.
Country Bulgaria Decision date 14/06/2011
Common name Decision type Supreme court decision
Court Върховен административен съд (София) Plaintiff(s) Consumer Protection Commission
Court translation Supreme Administrative Court (Sofia) Defendant(s) BDS – Bulgarian Delicacy Standard OOD
Subject labelling
Keywords confusing marketingdeceiving commercial practicefalse impressionquality marktrade mark

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Headnote

Labeling that contains factually correct information is nevertheless deceiving if its overall presentation is capable of misleading the average consumer about the characteristics of the product and, thus, to influence the consumer’s transactional decision. Such labeling constitutes a misleading commercial practice.

Facts

The abbreviation in the first part of the defendant’s trade mark – “BDS” – was identical to an abbreviation previously used to attest the quality of products manufactured in Bulgaria and approved by the government. The defendant printed its trade mark on labels in a way that stressed the analogy with this quality certification standard.

The plaintiff, a consumer authority, considered that the labeling in question constituted a misleading commercial practice and imposed a ban. According to the plaintiff, the label led consumers to the impression that the defendant’s products were quality certified under the Bulgarian state quality standards.

Legal issue

Can labeling of a product be misleading and constitute a misleading commercial practice, even when it only contains factually correct information (e.g. trade mark of a trader)? 

Decision

In a short reasoning, the court established that the labeling was deceiving, although it only contained factually correct information.

The court pointed out that the overall presentation of a product may mislead the average consumer. 

An average consumer, so the court stated, could think that the product was certified for quality under the Bulgarian state quality standards, because the defendant's trade mark was presented in a way similar to a previously used state certificate of quality.

  URL Decision Decision full text
BG http://www.sac.government.bg/court22.nsf/d6397429a99ee2afc225661e00383a86/cf1d8ee2cf03c573c22578a7003648e0?OpenDocument
EN N/A

Result

The court upheld the plaintiff’s findings and the ban on deceiving commercial practice.

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