Advertising law is a very complex and constantly evolving area of law: judicial provisions and the applicable law are having to adapt to the evolution of advertising communication techniques including communication through new forms of media such as social networking and mobile phone advertising etc.
Advertising law also has wider implications for other domains such as trade law, consumer law, competition law and intellectual property law.
In France, it is important to ensure that the advertising law requiring the use of the French language in adverts is fully complied with. It is also important to make sure that the message being conveyed does not cause confusion for consumers and avoids giving rise to misleading and deceptive advertising for which third parties may sue.
The provisions relating to offers such as reduction, liquidation, public sales and private sales are very specific, as are those dealing with offers within contests or lotteries. For instance, a decision from the EU Court of Justice on 23rd April 2009 condemned restrictions on sales with bonuses and bundling.
Finally, the promotion of alcoholic beverages and tobacco products is extremely restricted. As such, care must be taken as these limitations can have indirect repercussions for trademark owners, even if the signs in question are not registered for products or services which necessarily designate alcoholic beverages and tobacco products. For example, a recent decision by the Court of Appeal in Paris on 26th October 2011 (RG, Pôle 5, 1st Chamber, n°09/23375) stated that:
“[t]he registration of the trademark “Diptyque” by the company Hennessy (for alcoholic beverages) is likely to paralyze the use by Diptyque of its trademark since it cannot fully exercise its right of ownership on the sign, as a consequence of which the prior mark suffers from a loss of effectiveness which constitutes a violation infringement of the trademark rights which were owned and enjoyed by the company Diptyque before the registration of the contested trademark. This trademark will therefore be cancelled by application of Article 711-4 of the Code of Intellectual Property”.
The Court of Appeal therefore held that the company Dyptique could no longer advertise and therefore promote its perfumes, candles and cosmetic products sold under its trademark Dyptique because this sort of advertisement could be construed as being a form of indirect advertising for the alcoholic beverages sold under the company Hennessy.
The second trademark was thus cancelled because it effectively prevented the peaceful use of the first trademark in being able to advertise.
Legal review of advertising campaigns and promotional activities (contests and lotteries) under both French and European legislation (in particular in terms of direct or indirect advertisement for alcoholic beverages and tobacco) and applicable professional regulatory rules (ARPP etc.).
Assistance in the establishment of partnerships, sponsoring contracts with celebrities, and in the creation and use of information or promotional campaigns.
Drafting and negotiation of contracts for those taking part in advertising such as:
Assistance and representation in all disputes concerning these sectors (advertising using the image or mark belonging to a third party, misleading marketing practices, comparative advertising etc.).