In Vietnam, comparative advertising is subject to the following regulations, among other things:
- An advertisement must not contain direct comparison in terms of pricing, quality, and efficiency between the advertised products and products of other producers. It is not clear whether this prohibition only applies to direct reference to other producers or also to an implied reference. Therefore, references to logos, trademarks, tradenames and unique product features of other producers could arguably be viewed as direct comparison with such other producers. Use of mocked-up product sample to represent a generic type of product is possible as it does not refers to any specific producer.
- An advertisement can only contain the term “best’’, “the best”, “only”, “number one” or words having similar meaning if there is “legitimate documents” evidencing such claim. This prohibition could arguably apply to any aspect of the advertised goods or services including quality, appearance, price or popularity.
- The legitimate document supporting a superior claim in an advertisement could be a market survey conducted by licensed market research entities or a certification of a regional or national contest or exhibition proving that the goods or services in question is the best, only or number one. The legitimate document could only be used for advertisement made within one year from the date of the document. There are no specific regulations or limitation on the methodology, the sample or the data that the market survey or the contest should employ.
- A comparative advertisement may be subject to potential claims by a competitor on the grounds that such advertisement violates reputation of the competitor, provides misleading information about goods or services of the competitor, or uses pictures of the competitor. Since these are very general and broad grounds, the likelihood of claims by a competitor will depend on each specific advertisement and each competitor.
This post is based on researches by Pham Tran Hanh Linh, a VILAF legal intern.