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Upstate NY here, although this is more an internet-level question w.r.t. law.

Also, an initial disclaimer: Although my particular use case does not involve Pepsi in any way/shape/form, I'm going to use Pepsi here simply to serve as a perfect example. For the record, I love and drink Pepsi every day :-).


Say I decide to start manufacturing my own soda and then I start selling it (I'm not; this is hypothetical and should apply to any industry). On my soda brand's website, I'd like to compare my homegrown soda with Pepsi. Everything that I state will be 100% factual, so we can take false advertising or subjectivity out of the equation here.

What laws/international copyrights/statues/etc. control what I can/can't say about Pepsi on my brand's website? On TV, you see product comparisons all the time (laundry detergents and paper towel products seem to be the fiercest competitors in this arena for some strange reason). So I know it is legal to mention competition in your own advertising, but am assuming there are certain claims that may make you more liable for law suit than others.

Specifically:

  • I'd like to mention Pepsi (again, not really Pepsi, just 'the competition')
  • I'd like to include Pepsi's logo/trademark for a side-by-side comparison
  • I'd like to make 100% factual claims about Pepsi w.r.t. my product

Thoughts?

  • Beware of the comparisons you see on TV, usually the brands are owned by the same company and they aren't going to sue themselves. – Dale M Jan 11 '16 at 20:01
  • You mean like "Windows 10 - the best Windows ever" which I saw recently :-( – gnasher729 Jan 11 '16 at 23:21
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    @gnasher729 I mean things like Cheer, Dash & Daz are all laundry detergents owned by Procter & Gamble; you often see ads comparing these sorts of brands. – Dale M Jan 11 '16 at 23:35
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You cannot use a trademark in a way that may cause confusion that your goods and services are associated with or endorsed by the trade marked goods and services. If you are clear that they are not then you shouldn't have any problems on that front.

You also cannot defame the brand: that is make derogatory comments that are not true.

On a practical note, when Pepsi (for example) sends you a cease & desist notice, what are you going to do? They can go to the petty cash tin for $2 million to make your life a legal hell for 18-36 months: how much do you have to defend your rights?

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