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Case detail



Directive article Article 6 1.
National ID President of the Commercial Court in Brussels, 8 June 2009
Country Belgium Decision date 08/06/2009
Common name Decision type Court decision, first degree
Court Voorzitter Rechtbank van Koophandel Brussel Plaintiff(s) Patrick Froment Immobilier SPRL
Court translation President of the Commercial Court in Brussels Defendant(s) Renaissance Properties SPRL
Subject misleading advertising
Keywords average consumercompetitionimmovable propertyunfair competition

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Headnote

The mentioning of a successful transaction on the trader's website, from which it is not clear that it was not the trader but a competitor of the trader who has concluded the transaction, constitutes a misleading commercial practice.

Facts

It was established that the defendant, a real estate broker, placed pictures of houses that were sold by competing real estate brokers (such as the plaintiff) on its website with the mentioning "sold".

According to the plaintiff, such a commercial practice is in breach of the prohibition on misleading commercial practices as it induces a consumer to believe that it is the defendant who has sold the property, hence falsely creating publicity for its own activities.
 

Legal issue

Does the mentioning of a successful transaction on the trader's website, from which it is not clear that it was not the trader but a competitor of the trader who has concluded the transaction, constitute a misleading commercial practice?

Decision

The court agreed with the plaintiff by first stating that the use of pictures with the slogan "sold" on the defendant's website, constitutes a positive publicity for the defendant. Hence, such use is beneficial for the trader using the picture.

Further, the court stated, using such pictures is not a common practice in the sector of real estate brokerage and thus constitutes a misleading commercial practice towards consumers, as they will be induced to believe that it is the defendant who has sold the property.
 

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Result

The court ruled against the defendant.

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