Legal Lifesavers®

Legal Lifesaver
- definition -
"a concise piece of legal information that might save your assets."


Murray Gottheil is a Senior Partner in Pallett Valo LLP's Business Law Practice and Family Business Law Group.



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Our Legal Services are Better than Anyone Else's - Maybe

Your products and services are great.  Your competitor’s products and services suck by comparison. You even have research and testing data that proves it.  But is it a good idea to say so in your advertising and promotional material?

Although comparative advertising is legal, it is an area that can get you in trouble, so proceed with caution.  Comparisons with a competitor’s product must not be unfair or misleading, and the courts have applied a pretty tough standard.   In one case, a battery manufacturer was able to get a competitor’s ads yanked because even though the test results were objective and accurate, they used an older model of the competitor’s product instead of the version currently being sold, which might have tested better.


Here are some guidelines:

  • Don’t make any comparative claims unless they are supported by testing data that is accurate and fair.
  • Ideally the testing should be conducted by a third party using reliable and objective methods.
  • Make sure you are only comparing apples to apples and using the best available offerings of your competitor.
  • Don’t exaggerate the importance of minor differences between your stuff and theirs.
  • Don’t copy and paste your competitor’s brand names, trade-marks, logos or copyrighted materials such as packaging into your materials.
  •  Get professional advice.

I would like to thank Helen Ferrigan, Director of Knowledge Management, for her assistance in writing this edition.

Murray Gottheil
Pallett Valo LLP

Photo by Maureen T. McKay