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The word “specialist” can be impermissible top position advertising

The Ellwangen Regional Court in Baden-Württemberg has upheld an injunction to the effect that the term “specialist” may be inadmissible as top-of-the-line advertising.

A hot tub provider advertised in the case with the statement:

“Established as the specialist for outdoor whirlpools […] in East Württemberg”.

The following paragraph said:

The Regional Court found this to be inadmissible, although it should be noted that the problem was based on the fact that the provider referred to itself as“the specialist,” which, according to the plaintiff, the public would take to mean that it was the one specialist in East Württemberg.

The courts confirmed the competitor’s view that this was inadmissible unique selling proposition advertising, because the advertising would be understood by a significant part of the public as meaning that the advertiser claimed a top position on the market for itself alone – as a specialist – in the outdoor whirlpool segment.

This, of course, was not the case.

Since you see the word specialist very often in descriptions on LinkedIn etc., yes even I describe myself as “specialized in gaming and esports”, you should be careful with the exact wording.

In most cases, however, it is not problematic to describe oneself as a specialist in a particular field. Ultimately, however, it is the specific circumstances of the individual case that determine whether an advertisement can be anti-competitive.

Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel is a lawyer and entrepreneur specializing in copyright law, competition law and IT/IP law, with a focus on games, esports, media and blockchain.

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