IPA calls for delay on changes to comparative ad rules

The IPA is urging TV rulemakers to delay the introduction of new regulations on comparative advertising for up to a year while its inconsistencies are ironed out in the courts.

The IPA is urging TV rulemakers to delay the introduction of new

regulations on comparative advertising for up to a year while its

inconsistencies are ironed out in the courts.



The agency body claims that the Independent Television Commission is in

danger of harming a simple and effective set of rules by burdening them

with legal jargon that runs counter to moves towards ’light-touch’

regulation.



Industry sources claim the ITC is under pressure from the Department of

Trade and Industry to redraft its rules, bringing them into line with a

European Union directive to harmonise the comparative advertising rules

across Europe.



The directive, which comes into force on Sunday, is aimed at

standardising the big differences between EU countries.



Comparative advertising will be allowed only if it does not mislead,

compares like with like, does not create confusion, discredit or take

unfair advantage of a rival’s trademark or present goods as imitations

of those bearing a protected trade name.



The IPA has told the ITC that it should not change its code of

advertising standards until the law is clarified.



Simon Gallant, the IPA’s legal affairs director, said: ’In the UK most

people are reasonably happy with the rules, which are backed by lots of

case law.



’Now the ITC is proposing amendments to its rules that don’t make sense

and that don’t necessarily mirror the new legislation. I don’t think the

ITC is the right place to be making adjudications until the courts have

ruled.’



The IPA believes the squabbling between telecom companies about each

other’s tariffs will almost certainly result in a number of court cases

that will help clarify the law.



The ITC said it would not comment until it had analysed all the

responses to its consultation on the proposed amendments.