The European Court of Justice (ECJ) with decision n. C-675/11 dated July 11, 2013 ruled on whether metatags, and domain names can be considered “advertising” under the Comparative Advertising Directive (2006/114/EC).

The dispute related to a claim for misleading and comparative advertising in connection with the registration and use of a domain name and of meta-tags reflecting the trade name and product names of a competitor.

The ECJ stated that registering a domain name is not advertising, as it is a merely formal act that is not capable of influencing the choice of consumers.

The Court instead held that the use of a domain name and of metatags constitutes a promotional activity, aimed to encourage the Internet users to visit a website and to take interest in its goods or services.

Consequently, such uses fall within the definition of “advertising” under Article 2(a) of current Directive 2006/114/EC concerning misleading and comparative advertising.