Protect Market Share and Avoid Pitfalls through Comparative Advertising

January 12, 2015 by Holiday W. Banta, Partner | Thomas A. Walsh, Partner
Protect Market Share and Avoid Pitfalls through Comparative Advertising

Ice Miller can help innovators overcome critical challenges to grow successful agribusinesses. Learn more about the unique business and legal challenges facing food and agricultural innovators and how to protect and grow that innovation in our 2015 Agribusiness Guide. An excerpt follows: 

Can you legally say that your agribusiness product is “better” than the competition? What if you have a study comparing the growth rates of your treated seeds versus the competition’s treated seeds? Can you publish the study in an advertisement? If so, do you need to include any facts or disclaimers in the advertisement?
The business of agriculture is in a state of innovation. Producers need to protect their market share from encroachment by competitors. Consumers are increasingly placing value on the source and quality of their food. Producers who use practices or contribute to value-added products that speak to the values of consumers may have a competitive advantage in telling their story. However, producers should exercise caution when comparative statements are involved.
Apart from protecting the farm’s intellectual property, agribusiness today is highly competitive and demands highly competitive marketing plans. In fields such as plant genetics, seed treatments, and food products, to name just a few, communicating a competitive advantage can mean the difference between a successful year and a financial failure. Such comparative advertising can be very effective to draw market share away from the competition, but it is risky to undertake if you do not have good advice concerning where the legal line is drawn on its use.

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