Digital advertising legalities

Businesses toeing the legal line when it comes to digital advertising

Featured in Bandt and Internet Retailing

With misleading and deceptive conduct cases on the rise in the digital realm, a leading specialist law firm has warned businesses need to take precautionary measures when it comes to online advertising.

Gold Coast-based Twomey Dispute Lawyers has revealed many businesses could face significant repercussions if their digital adverts are not in line with Australian consumer law.

Twomey Dispute Lawyers Associate Tegan Childs says while it’s perfectly alright to pay for the AdWords of another company, misleading and deceptive conduct comes into play when a company mentions another business or their trademark throughout their advert.

“The easiest way to understand this is when one company creates, for example, a Google advert and uses another company’s name or trademark written throughout the meta tags, slogan, link, headline or advert text,” says Ms Childs.

“This can deceive and create confusion among consumers who click on that advert and might think there’s a collaboration between the two companies or that they are connected in some way.

“If you are doing paid adverts, it’s important not to do anything that tries to pass off or confuse people that your product or business might be similar to that of a trade rival.”

The Gold Coast-based firm says most cases of deceptive and misleading conduct in the digital space involve small businesses or trade rivals.

“While it’s okay to look at competitors to help influence your marketing goals, using another business’s trademark or branding in your campaigns is not,” says Ms Childs.

“Because if any of your digital marketing activities mislead people into thinking you’re similar or connected, you might open yourself up to numerous liabilities with serious repercussions.

“You could be infringing on trademarks or copyright, as well as engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct.

“There are companies who have spent a lot of time and money in creating a brand, reputation and a certain following, and if they see someone try and sponge off that, chances are they are going to seek legal help.”

Online advertising currently accounts for 64 per cent of the market and more businesses are adding a digital spend to their budget, but Twomey Dispute Lawyers warn those in the marketing industry also need to be aware of Australian consumer law.

“If you’re representing a company and curating their online paid content, the same rules apply, don’t use a competitor’s branding within those adverts,” says Ms Childs.

“It’s important that businesses who work alongside an external marketing company manage their digital adverts, to ensure they have some intermediary ability to view any and all adverts before they go live.

“In most cases, businesses aren’t aware that their goodwill is being used by another company until they Google themselves and see their name, trademark or slogan in a paid advert.

“If you find that your rights have been breached and another company is using your branding in their digital advertising, there are a number of remedies available to you, but in the first instance, you need to seek legal help.”

Twomey Dispute Lawyers offer top-tier advice for disputes and are experts at finding solutions and resolutions for several specialist legal practice areas including defamation, intellectual property, workplace law, debt recovery, corporate insolvency and bankruptcy, property, shareholder disputes and construction law.

Related Posts

Call Now Button