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28 July 2014

Court: Competitor’s Directory ripping contest attracts Yellow Pages’ ire

 - Wednesday, 25 January 2012, 00:00 , by John Cordina

A Facebook competition inviting people to submit homemade video clips to “rip the phonebook” has attracted strong objections from Yellow Pages, which has filed a judicial protest in which it claims the act is illegal.

The judicial protest was filed against Market Handle, which operates under the name of Contact Handle and which offers directory and advertising services.

Through its Facebook page, Contact Handle launched a “rip the phonebook” competition, in which members of the public were asked to submit videos in which they were ripping or destroying a “traditional printed directory” in a bid to win an iPad.

But as a distributor of a traditional printed directory itself, Yellow Pages (Malta) was far from amused.

The company insisted that the competition constituted comparative advertising, since Contact Handle was promoting its services while comparing them to Yellow Pages’ own. To back its case, it noted that the competition poster featured two yellow directories which indirectly referred to its own services, and that videos submitted also clearly showed its Yellow Pages directories being ripped apart.

According to the Commercial Code, comparative advertising is not allowed in three cases: if it is not objective, if it discredits or denigrates a competitor or if it takes unfair advantage of the competitor’s reputation. Yellow Pages insisted that the competition fell foul of the last two conditions.

The company is thus asking Contact Handle to desist from the competition with immediate effect, and is holding it responsible for any damages it may suffer.

Lawyer Simon Galea Testaferrata and legal procurator Nicholette Aquilina signed the writ.

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