20 May 2019

General Framework for Comparative Advertising in Russia

Having a developed trademark registration system, accompanied by effective legislative enforcement remedies, Russia represents a large and attractive consumer market for various industries. The exclusive right to a trademark under Russian law expressly names the ability to use a trademark in advertising.

In its turn, the primary advertising legislative act—the Federal law of 13.03.2006 N 38-FZ ‘On advertising’ (‘the Advertising law’)—sets the general requirements for advertising.

In particular, Subsection 1 Section 2 Article 5 of the law bans unfair advertising in the form of advertising that contains incorrect comparisons of the advertised product with the goods in commerce produced by other manufacturers or sold by other sellers.

That said, “correct” comparative advertising is in fact allowed under the Russian advertising regime, while “incorrect” comparisons may give rise to liability.

The advertising regulator in Russia is the Federal Anti-Monopoly Services of the Russian Federation (FAS), but courts also consider disputes involving trademark use in advertising.

Legislative and Practical Balance

The advertising law does not set boundaries where correctness ends and incorrect advertising starts. In this regard, the Resolution of the Plenum of the Russian Supreme Commercial Court of 08.10.2012 No. 58 provides the milestone guidance on dealing with comparative advertising:

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