Misleading advertisement for Parodontax toothpaste packaging

Everyone who has ever used Parodontax toothpaste knows that it has no equal. This toothpaste has a unique salty taste, does not foam and once you are used to it, you will never want anything else again. When Parodontax launches a renewed product, it doesn’t only explode on social media, also a complaint is lodged with the Advertising Code Committee (RCC).


The plaintive argues that the new claims are misleading. The packaging says 'renewed taste', but also 'Parodontax ORIGINAL'. This is a completely new product with a different taste and a tingling sensation on the tongue. The use of the term ORIGINAL is therefore misleading. GKS (the new owner) claims that ORIGINAL refers to the oldest version of Parodontax and that only its flavor has been modified.

Both the advertising board and the board of appeal agree with the complainant. The combination of the words 'Original', 'renewed taste' and the familiar red packaging suggests a slight change. GSK admits that about half of the ingredients have been replaced. For example, the characteristic herbal extracts have been replaced by aromas.

If a manufacturer wants to renew an 'Original' in the way that GSK has done, the consumer (and especially existing users) ought to be informed about this appropriately in order to avoid false expectations. Just reporting that the taste has been renewed is not enough. The claims are misleading. GSK is requested to use different claims on their packaging.


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IP quiz Trademarks

Puma is one of the bigger sports and lifestyle brands in the world. The core-business is the design, development and sale of (sports) shoes, (sports) clothing and accessories. In 1960, Puma registered an international trademark for a device designed in 1958: the formstrip. Since then, Puma has registered approximately 90 formstrip trademarks with validity in the Benelux or the European Union. Puma claims that this is a serial mark. Monshoe is a wholesaler of women's shoes and related products. The company designs and develops Monshoe shoes which it largely markets itself. Monshoe sells its women's shoes under the brands Shoecolate and Pearlz. The shoe Shoecolate is offered in various colour combinations. Puma claims that Monshoe infringes its well-known formstrip trademark. Monshoe contradicts this and states that the average consumer will not perceive the device of Monshoe on the sneakers as a trademark. And if the public will recognize a trademark in the decoration, it will not make the connection to Puma. According to Monshoe, the formstrip logo is not a well-known trademark within the meaning of the BVIE and the UMVo. There is no likelihood of confusion because the sign does not or hardly evoke any association with Puma among the public. In light of the above, who is right? Does this constitute decorative use or linking to a well-known trademark?