On 19 April 2007, the European Court of Justice delivered its judgement in Case C-381/05 De Landtsheer Emmanuel SA v Co Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne, Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin SA whereby it clarified that comparative advertising between products without designation of origin and products with such designation was allowed under the EU law.
According to the ECJ, products with a designation of origin may be compared with the ones having no such designation without considering the comparison as a comparative advertisement. The Court, first of all, was asked by a national court whether the provisions of the Misleading and Comparative Advertising Directive 2006/114/EC cover the advertisements where only the types of a product, and not specific undertakings or products are being compared. According to the ECJ, the fact that the advertisers competitors or the goods or services may be identified as being in fact referred to by the advertisement is of no relevance to the comparative advertisements.
The second question was whether it was permissible to compare products with the designation of origin with the ones without such designation. The ECJ pointed out that the comparison is permitted if the following conditions are met:
the comparative advertisement does not take unfair advantage of the reputation of the competitors distinguishing marks or of the designation of origin of competing products;
the comparative advertisement does not involve comparison of products having different designations.
In addition, the ECJ emphasized once again a principle that the conditions required of comparative advertising must be interpreted in the sense most favourable to it.
The full text of the judgement of the European Court of Justice is available at: