Anyone could develop their own business which is guaranteed by the Bulgarian legislation. When there are several companies which carry out the same activity – they are therefore competitors. There are certain rules for conducting competitive activity which everyone is required to observe. However, some competitors do not adhere to the rules and use unfair trading practices.
The Bulgarian Commission for Protection of Competition (CPC) was considering a case in which a company promotes itself as the “only specialized producer of grinding machines in Bulgaria” which claim constituted unfair practice according to a competitor operating in the same industry. When analyzing the information contained in the advertising brochures, CPC took into account that the commercial itself is not solely a sum of presented facts, which are perceived in isolation by the consumers, but instead it is an overall message which affects their economical behavior. Relevant for consistency of the discussed behavior are the way the advertisement are presented, the proof by the advertiser of the truthfulness of the statements, contained in the advertising slogan and/or the compliance of what was promised in the commercial with the advertiser’s actual performance. According to the content of the message, the offeror claims uniqueness with regard to the products he offers and in terms of his presence on the market. From the evidence submitted in these proceedings CPC indisputably established that the company was not the only supplier of grinding machines in Bulgaria. In this particular case the plaintiff is another supplier of grinding machines in Bulgaria. Both companies have previously been engaged in proceedings before CPC during which it was established that they carries out an identical economic activity related to the production of grinding machines thus being competitors.
In light of this, CPC resolved that due to the commercial message carried out to the public there were violation of the ban on misleading advertising and prohibited comparative advertising which causes or is likely to damage the competitor’s interest and business.