NEWS: Mercedes threatens legal action over comparative ad

Mercedes-Benz has reacted angrily to a new poster campaign for the specialist van manufacturer, LDV, and has threatened to apply immediately for an injunction to have the posters pulled down and destroyed.

Mercedes-Benz has reacted angrily to a new poster campaign for the

specialist van manufacturer, LDV, and has threatened to apply

immediately for an injunction to have the posters pulled down and

destroyed.



LDV, however, is standing by its advertising, through Simons Palmer,

which launched last week.



The poster shows the LDV logo with the statement, ‘We only make vans’,

positioned alongside the logos of three rival van manufacturers -

Mercedes, Ford and VW - under which the copy reads: ‘They also make

vans.’



James Hodgson, a trademark specialist and the head of intellectual

property law for LDV’s law firm, Eversheds, said: ‘LDV’s advertisement

establishes plain fact and in no way contravenes the 1994 Trade Marks

Act.’



This act permits the use of a third party trademark for the purpose of

comparative advertising, provided it is used ‘in accordance with honest

industrial and commercial practice’ and does not take unfair advantage

of the mark, or is detrimental to it.



A spokesman from Mercedes said: ‘We have registered our disapproval

through lawyers about LDV’s use of our trademark without permission.’



LDV has not received any complaint from Ford or Volkswagen.



Hodgson added: ‘Comparative advertising will become more and more

commonplace, as seen with the recent campaigns by Cellnet, Orange and

Vodafone, in which they each refer to their competitors’ rates and claim

to be less expensive - one of them must be right.’



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