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’
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
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
’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
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.