INTA published Unfair Competition Laws Quick Guide, Unfair Competition Laws, Unfair Competition Laws Quick Guide, INTA’s Unfair Competition Committee

INTA published Unfair Competition Laws Quick Guide

On September 14, 2021, INTA’s Unfair Competition Committee (UCC), Policy Subcommittee voted to approve a Board Resolution, prohibit various forms of unfair competition even though the national statutes or governing laws are diverse in nature.

Specifically, the data in the Unfair Competition Quick Guide covers 24 countries, including those in the Americas, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

Sponsored by INTA’s Unfair Competition Committee (UCC) —Policy Subcommittee, the resolution focuses largely on obligations contained in the TRIPS Agreement and is a culmination of the UCC’s extensive work over the last two committee terms.

UCC’s Policy Subcommittee carried out the survey during the 2018‒2019 and 2020‒2021 committee terms.

The survey was conducted based on 4 principles standards: 

  • Whether national laws exist that prohibit unfair competition (and, if not, whether unfair competition is prohibited in other ways); 
  • Specific examples of prohibited unfair competition; 
  • Remedies available in the event of unfair competition; 
  • The proper venue for the assertion of unfair competition claims.

In general, the responses revealed that all of the countries surveyed have laws or regulations on the same principle, forbid acts of unfair competition. Most countries have at least 2 or more national statutes covering unfair competition, including false advertising, trade dress infringement, and confusion created by passing off.

Some findings from the survey may be listed as:

  • While countries such as Argentina, Poland, and Sweden have enacted specific national competition acts, others, including India and Israel, provide for relief under a different authority, such as general tort laws, consumer protection acts, and/or common law.
  • Although all countries surveyed consider “false advertising” to constitute a form of unfair competition, they define this term differently. 
  • All countries surveyed to allow for the possibility of damages where unfair competition has been proven, yet the likelihood of recovering such damages as a practical matter may vary.
  • While none of the countries appears to ban comparative advertising entirely, each defines differently the circumstances under which such advertising is prohibited. 
  • In nearly all countries, unfair competition claims may be brought in the appropriate courts.

Unfair Competition Laws Quick Guide

In addition, the Unfair Competition Laws Quick Guide also mentions the difference in technology that impacts unfair competition among countries.

These advances in technology include typo-squatting; use of trademarks and other protected designations in expressive content such as games, motion pictures, videos, or memes; ambush marketing; tampering with labels, barcodes, or other means or devices to identify or trace the source or origin of goods and services; use of trademarks and other protected designations by way of keyword advertising or metatags and advertising through blogs, vlogs, or influencer marketing. 

To create a balance between the countries and overall, improve each countries’ standard on technology to limit the difference that leads to unfair competition, the resolution recommends that countries enact into law minimum standards and remedies for the protection against unfair competition in addition to those contained in INTA’s Model Trademark Law Guidelines of 2019.

The early accessible guide of the Unfair Competition Laws Quick Guide was published to brand owners and practitioners across the entire world that want to have a clearer view of the law on unfair competition in the 24 countries. Most of the brand owners or practitioners who want these documents are the businesses that are interested in or have already invested or entered these high potential markets.

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