The concept of comparative advertising is governed by Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act and the trademark act 1999.
Comparative advertisement has taken a shift from product promotion to anticompetitive activities. Legal policies in India too have taken shift from curbing the monopolies and increasing the competition. The basic structure such actions have been laid down in the MRTP ACT read with amended competition act as well as the trademarks Act.
Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act and The Competition Law
The MRTP Act was implemented in the year 1969. Major amendments were done in the act in year 1984. The motive of the act was to curb the restrictive trade practices and maintain the competition in the market thus pushing the economic development. The act also provided for safeguarding the consumers against the false and misleading advertisement.
Section 36A this act lists unfair trade practices:
Any advertisement which gives false information regarding good and services of another or tries to deceive the consumer are included in unfair trade practices another unfair trade practice is getting involved in any activity which is unfair and involves disparagement of goods is mentioned in the unfair activity of business houses.
MRTP act has been replaced by competition act but there are no specific definition regarding the unfair trade practices in the act but it would be wrong to say that the concept is completely ignored in the competition act. False representation, false price, hoarding etc. are covered in competition act. So for clarification of the unfair trade practices one has taken reliance to consumer protection act.
Consumer protection act, 1986.
Consumer protection act, 1986 is a social welfare legislation for consumers so that the consumers are not deceived in relation to prices quantity and product. The object of the act was for better protection of the consumer and establishment of consumer forums for adjudicating the matters regarding the consumer complaint. But case regarding unfair trade practices has never been adjudicated in the consumer forums. These cases were taken and adjudicated by the MRTP commission. Under consumer protection act the cases regarding the unfair trade practices cannot be taken up by the consumer alone it can be taken by the consumer association. This slanting provision has resulted in delay regarding the unfair trade practice.
Read more about :Know Indian Trademarks Act, 1999.
Part-1: Background of Comparative Advertising in light of Indian trademark and patent Laws
Part-2: Introduction Comparative Advertising in legal framework.
Part-3: Comparative advertising and its connotation in Constitution
Part-4: Legal provisions regarding trademark in India with reference to Comparative advertising
Know Indian Trademarks Act, 1999
Rajiv Kaushik, Comparative Advertising and its Status in India, IJCEM International Journal of Computational Engineering & Management, Vol. 15 Issue 3, May 2012. (http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.450.7739&rep=rep1&type=pdf)