n Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - Trade marks and comparative advertising

Volume 43, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



In terms of South African law, comparative advertising may be unlawful on two grounds, namely the common law relating to unlawful competition and infringement of a registered trade mark. Under the common law comparative advertising is generally permitted unless the advertisement contains untrue disparaging allegations. As far as trade-mark legislation is concerned, it was generally believed that comparative advertising amounted to trade-mark infringement. However, recent decisions in Europe and South Africa have introduced restrictions into the infringement provisions which limit the infringement rights of trade-mark proprietors. This article discusses these restrictions and compares the approaches adopted in Europe and South Africa and their effect on the lawfulness of comparative advertising.

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