Home – New Forums Starting your journey Is publishing a competitors company name trademark infringement?

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  • #988795
    Wolf
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    I published a page on my website exposing deceptive marketing by a competitor. This competitor is based in the US but has 15 different websites set up targeting specific countries. On the Australian targeted website they advertises that they are locally based and that all orders ship from Australia. I know for a fact that none of their orders ship from Australia and that everything is shipped from the US. They claim to be local in the 15 other countries they target as well.

    On the page I published I warned customers that this company is not based in Australia like they are advertising. I included the name of the company and also included screenshots of all the other websites to show how they are claiming to be local elsewhere.

    The competitor has now emailed me saying that I do not have permission to publish their company name on my website as it infringes on their trademark. The screenshots of the different websites also show their logo. They have threatened to sue me if I do not remove the page.

    I was wondering if in fact they do have a legal case against me? Or are they just bluffing?

    #1168969
    Spurious
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    wolf, post: 195863 wrote:
    I published a page on my website exposing deceptive marketing by a competitor. This competitor is based in the US but has 15 different websites set up targeting specific countries. On the Australian targeted website they advertises that they are locally based and that all orders ship from Australia. I know for a fact that none of their orders ship from Australia and that everything is shipped from the US. They claim to be local in the 15 other countries they target as well.

    On the page I published I warned customers that this company is not based in Australia like they are advertising. I included the name of the company and also included screenshots of all the other websites to show how they are claiming to be local elsewhere.

    The competitor has now emailed me saying that I do not have permission to publish their company name on my website as it infringes on their trademark. The screenshots of the different websites also show their logo. They have threatened to sue me if I do not remove the page.

    I was wondering if in fact they do have a legal case against me? Or are they just bluffing?

    Im no lawyer so take what I say with a grain of salt but as far as im aware ‘mentioning’ a competitors name or trademark, provided you are being truthful and not using it for promotion is acceptable, but if youre going to make claims about them youd better be damned sure you can back it up because the onus is on you to prove your claim if they sue you for defamation.

    If you want to keep the information up there id suggest consulting with a lawyer because you dont want to get wrong information and end up with a costly legal battle you couldve avoided to begin with.

    You may want to consider whether it actually achieves your marketing goal by naming and shaming them anyway. Traditional marketing theory on this is that it doesnt do anything positive for your brand to attack another brand in anything other than a fun way. You might want to think about greying out their logo and simply having something like ‘some Australian retailers claim to do xxxx, but we actually do xxxx’

    #1168970
    bb1
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    Are you sure they dont have local offices in all 15 countries, and do actually ship from the local country even if the stock comes from elsewhere. There are a number of business’s who have this arrangement in place.

    #1168971
    Peter Watson
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    You are not infringing on their trademark simply mentioning their name. More info here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trademark_infringement

    #1168972
    JacquiPryor
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    Hi there,

    Sorry for the late response & chime in to your post.

    Do they have trademark registration in Australia? Are you mentioning them in connection with goods/services in Australia? Firstly, trademark registration is country-by-country, so if they have registered in USA and you’re not targeting US audience then it’s unlikely they’ve got a case for infringement of a trademark.

    Secondly, and please note this is provided as general information not legal advice – a trademark is infringed only if you use something “as a trademark” – this would mean you’re using the same/similar name or logo as a brand to distinguish goods/services from other people’s. The manner you’ve uploaded/used their ‘trademark’ would not necessarily count as use “as a trademark” the way it would need to in a trademark infringement case.

    Note: If you have copied/published their logo & website content they may have a case under Copyright rather than trademark. This would likely depend on whether their logo includes ‘artistic work’ that is covered by copyright, and also if any website content captured in the reproduced screenshot was covered.

    As Spurious noted, in referencing a competitor in a manner that’s obviously not flattering you would want to be certain of your claims. You may also wish to research a little about America’s fair trade/deceptive practice laws. There may be an official body over there that you could complain to about their deceptive marketing. I am not familiar with the process over there for doing so, but it could see some positive result for you here in Australia?

    If it was an Australian business you were concerned about, I would suggest contacting the ACCC, and I believe USA has a similar body. Worth investigating anyway.

    Hope this helps.

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