Three sues mobile rival Eir over ‘misleading’ ad campaign

Ad deceives or is likely to deceive Three’s customers into switching, court hears

Three Ireland has sued Eircom Ltd, trading as Eir, over an advertising campaign launched earlier this month

Three Ireland has sued Eircom Ltd, trading as Eir, over an advertising campaign launched earlier this month

 

A dispute between two mobile phone service providers over an allegedly misleading advertising campaign by one of them has come before the Commercial Court.

Three Ireland has sued Eircom Ltd, trading as Eir, over an advertising campaign launched earlier this month which, it is alleged, refers directly to the Three brand and other of its trade marks such as “All you can eat data”.

It claims the campaign is directed towards Three’s customers and, without providing substantiated calculations, claims those customers can save up to €480 by switching to Eir’s mobile services packages.

The ad deceives, or is likely to deceive, Three’s customers into switching to the defendant by “grossly exaggerating” the savings to be made, if any, it is claimed.

The ads are misleading within the terms of the EC misleading and comparative marketing communications regulations 2007 for allegedly not comparing like with like, it is alleged.

Three also claims the campaign takes unfair advantage of the reputation of a trademark, trade name or other distinguishing marks of a competitor.

Full hearing

Paul Coughlan, for Three Ireland (Hutchison Ltd) and Palmerston Ltd, applied on Monday to have the proceedings fast-tracked in the Commercial Court.

Counsel said his side had issues with the advertising campaign and contended it was misleading, within the meaning of the 2007 regulations, for reasons including the Eir package was limited while that of Three was not. Other attributes of the Three packages rendered the campaign misleading, he said.

Maurice Collins SC, for Eircom Ltd, did not object to the case being fast-tracked, but said his side had comprehensively addressed the issues in correspondence with the plaintiffs and took issue with the claim the campaign was misleading.

Mr Justice Brian Cregan agreed to admit the case to the court’s list and approved a timetable for exchange of legal documents in preparation for a full hearing on a date to be fixed.