Canadian Comment: Apple Sued Over Ad Copy

Million of colours or millions of dollars in damages?  Apple’s lawyers must be wondering whether people have too much time on their hands.  A recent California lawsuit  alleges that Apple’s ad copy for its iMac computers is misleading because it incorrectly boasts “millions of colours”.  Gullible customers take this to heart and suffer when it turns out to be inaccurate. Just like Microsoft’s ads claim that “Xbox Live is where games come alive.”  And Maxwell House alleging that it’s “Good to the Last Drop.” …Right. That’s what ads do. They make the products sound great so you spend your money.

In an oft-cited Ontario case (Church & Dwight Ltd. v. Sifto Canada Inc., 1994 CanLII 7314 (ON S.C.)), the court dealt with an allegation of false advertising.  To succeed on this claim in Canada, you have to prove: 

  • actual economic loss,
  • that the offensive statements were false, and
  • that they were made with the intent to cause injury,
  • that they were made without lawful justification.

According to the Sifto case, advertisements claiming a product is “100 per cent pure and 100 per cent natural” are “examples of the ‘puffery’ which is the staple of the advertising industry and of marketers everywhere.”   Apparently, this hasn’t been explained to iMac customers in California.

Related Reading:  “Quebec couple battles corporate giant and wins” where a Telus customer successfully sues for a deceptive promotion under Quebec’s Consumer Protection Act

Calgary – 10:30 MST

1 comment

1 Comment so far

  1. discodaug September 16th, 2009 6:06 pm


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