False Advertising Under the Lanham Act

The Lanham Act, also known as the Trademark Act of 1946, is a federal statute that governs trademarks, service marks, and unfair competition. The Act also contains provisions that address false advertising, which is defined as the act of making false or misleading statements about a product or service to deceive consumers.

False advertising is a serious issue, as it can harm both consumers and competitors. Consumers may be deceived into purchasing a product or service that does not meet their expectations, while competitors may be put at a disadvantage by the false claims made by their rivals. In either case, false advertising can lead to lost profits and damage to a company’s reputation.

What must a plaintiff prove to establish false advertising?

Under the Lanham Act, any person who is or is likely to be damaged by false advertising has the right to bring a lawsuit against the person or company responsible for the false advertising. To succeed on a claim under the Lanham Act, the plaintiff must prove: (1) the defendant made a false or misleading statement; (2) the statement was made in commercial advertising or promotion; and (3) the statement was material, meaning it would affect the purchasing decision of a reasonable consumer.

What are some defenses to false advertising?

The Lanham Act also provides for several defenses to a claim of false advertising. For example, a defendant may be able to show the challenged statement was true, or the statement was not actually false but merely puffery, which is a form of exaggerated or vague marketing language that is not intended to be taken literally. In addition, the Act provides a safe harbor for comparative advertising, which is advertising that compares competitors’ products or services.

What remedies are available for false advertising?

The remedies available under the Lanham Act for false advertising include injunctive relief, which is a court order requiring the defendant to stop the false advertising, and damages, which are monetary awards to compensate the plaintiff for the harm caused by the false advertising. In some cases, the court may also award attorneys’ fees to the prevailing party.

Importance of the Lanham Act in protecting against false advertising

Overall, the Lanham Act provides important protections against false advertising, allowing individuals and companies to seek legal recourse when they have been harmed by false or misleading advertising. By ensuring advertisers are held accountable for their false or misleading statements, the Act helps to promote fair competition and protect consumers from being deceived by false advertising.

If you have a claim for false advertising or have been accused of false advertising, contact us to learn how we can help.

Griffith Barbee PLLC

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