Food Law Corner

The CERHA HEMPEL Food Law Corner provides an insight into current legal developments and the latest case-law in the food and beverage industry. Our attorneys regularly advise clients on the regulatory requirements in connection with food information, health and nutrition claims, advertising & marketing, novel foods, the introduction of food supplements on the market and much more. We represent our clients in administrative proceedings, cases under the Unfair Competition Act, and trademark protection including PDO and PGI.

Posts tagged with unfair competition

"Dual quality" – The marketing of food products that vary in their composition in different Member States constitutes a misleading commercial practice

The European Commission's "New Deal for Consumers" aims to modernise and improve the enforcement of EU consumer protection rules. The package of measures also includes an amendment of Directive on Unfair Commercial Practices (UCPD), after almost 15 years since its entry into force.

The principle of Freedom to copy: the Unfair Competition Act provides no protection for the form and packaging of "MAGNUM DOUBLE" ice cream

The plaintiff sells and distributes "MAGNUM DOUBLE" ice creams on a stick. In the present case, the plaintiff filed a complaint to object to the fact that the defendant had adopted the oval form of the original ice cream product, which is characterised by three layers in total, namely (i) a layer of icing containing cocoa, (ii) a soft layer with a filling in a variety of flavours, and (iii) a layer of chocolate. The plaintiff also wished to prohibit the defendant from offering its product under the name "Gelatelli DOUBLE" or "DOUBLE" by using a font and font colour likely to cause a likelihood of confusion with MAGNUM DOUBLE.

Deceptive packaging: Cake packaging – with 40% to 50% less content than its appearance would suggest – is deemed to be deception if the oversized packaging is avoidable

The case focussed on the issue of the non-transparent outer packaging used for a chocolate cake. The packaging contained five pieces of cake, each individually wrapped in silver foil. Warm air becomes trapped within the packaging of the individual pieces of cake when they are sealed inside. This explains why they have a greater volume (approximately 10%) immediately after being sealed. "Removing the air" from the individual packages, which would result in there being enough space for a total of six pieces of cake, is not possible using packaging equipment manufactured from the 1990s. This would be possible if newer machines were used. The actual total weight of the packaged contents, amounting to 150g, was stated on one of the narrow sides of the outer packaging.