Case law

  • Case Details
    • National ID: 11724/2010, VII d.
    • Member State: Bulgaria
    • Common Name:link
    • Decision type: Supreme court decision
    • Decision date: 14/06/2011
    • Court: Supreme Administrative Court (Sofia)
    • Subject:
    • Plaintiff: Consumer Protection Commission
    • Defendant: BDS – Bulgarian Delicacy Standard OOD
    • Keywords: confusing marketing, deceiving commercial practice, false impression, quality mark, trade mark
  • Directive Articles
    Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, Chapter 2, Section 1, Article 6, 1., (b) Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, Chapter 2, Section 1, Article 6, 2., (a)
  • 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
    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.
  • Decision

    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)? 


    Full text: Full text

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