False Advertising is a misrepresentation made by a company in the course of business. The misrepresentation generally refers to the nature, characteristics, qualities or geographic origin of the company or another’s goods or services.
The Federal Lanham Act, which some may recognize as the statute that protects Trademarks, but businesses that advertise and lawyers who represent them should be familiar with Section 43(a) of that Act – a short provision that allows business competitors to sue one another for false advertising, among other things. Section 43(a) prohibits false statements or representations made in commercial advertising or promotion that are likely to both deceive consumers and cause injury to the plaintiff. A classic false advertising claim could involve a false or misleading statement made either about a competitor’s product or the person or entity’s own product.
Some claims that fall into these categories:
- National advertising campaigns,
- Statements based on testing,
- Unsubstantiated assertions,
- Verbal sales pitches to a limited number of consumers.
Available remedies to a plaintiff under the Lanham Act include injunctive relief, damages, corrective advertising, and attorneys’ fees, although the statute gives the court broad discretion to create an equitable remedy that fairly compensates the plaintiff.
Contact The PLK Law Group to for more to learn more about false advertising and your trademark rights under the Lanham Act, and for advice on how to protect your business and better your brand.