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Now in its twelfth year, Class 46 is dedicated to European trade mark law and practice. This weblog is written by a team of enthusiasts who want to spread the word and share their thoughts with others.

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Anthonia Ghalamkarizadeh
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Comparative advertising: Unilever strikes back against Albert Heijn?

Early morning today because I will be at the opening of the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven in a few hours (openings by mr R.H.A. Plasterk, Minister of Education, Culture and Science and by Alessi), but I could not resist this posting. Reading yesterday's NRC - an evening paper - I just spotted three big adds from Unilever that beg attention. Unilever seems to be annoyed by Albert Heijn's - aka AH - comparative activities with regard to private label products and certain Unilever brands, in particular Calvé Pindakaas (peanut butter), Sun diswasher tablets and Robijn fabric softener. I made some bad pictures of the adds which I attach to this posting. I hope they are clear enough to see what's happening. The add starts with the sentence on top: 'Ah, we gaan vergelijken' (ah, we are going to compare), in which the 'Ah' is clearly referring to AH, and right below the products are mapped.

The texts Unilever uses reads as follows (own translation): 'Of course there are more peanut cheese brands, but there is only one Calvé. And honestly it's incomparable. Because in Calvé you taste more peanuts. Besides that Calvé contains no added sugars, it's full with food building materials and rich with vitamin E. Furthermore independent taste tests shows that Calvé really tastes better. That's why Calvé is the Dutch favourite for already 60 years! Calvé peanut cheese, contains more than you think!'; 'Compare? Of course, we compare each day. Our Sun dishwasher tablets are tested continuously by several independent testing institutions. Of course on the most difficult stains, like egg, tea and rice. And guess what? Sun All in 1 Extra Power shows the best results, time after time, for your dishes too. And so Sun is the best cleaning tablet in the Netherlands. Logical, because we have a complete team of experts working for us, that are working each day on the improvement of the tablets. Of course we find it a good thing that there is an alternative. But better? That's a challenge that we dare. Sun, the dishwashing expert.'; 'Of course you can compare fabric softeners. Yes, please. Because if you compare you will find out yourself that Robijn is the first fabric softener in the Netherlands that contains microcapsules. Because these special capsules are activated with each movement, you do not only smell it when you open the washing machine, but your clothing remains fresher for a longer time. Of course we find it a good thing that there is an alternative. But better? That's a challenge that we dare. Robijn, the most loved fabric softener in the Netherlands.'

Curious what Albert Heijn will do next week. The adds of course might give rise to some legal questions with regard to trade mark use in comparative advertising.

Posted by: Gino Van Roeyen @ 07.16
Tags: Comparative advertising, Netherlands, trade mark infringement,
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