I-CONN Healthcare Solutions sued Advanced Internet Technologies ("AIT"), the company that provided I-CONN software hosting services, after AIT's server failed and certain I-CONN data was lost. I-CONN argued, in part, that it was fraudulently induced to enter into a contract with AIT based on AIT's advertising, which claimed that AIT was "The World Leader in Dedicated and Shared Web Hosting." The North Carolina Court of Appeals rejected this argument, noting that "a certain amount of puffing of one's own goods…has long been prevalent in our culture." The court indicated that whether such puffing exceeds the bounds of fairness must be determined by viewing it against all of the facts of the case and found that one of the relevant facts is the market that the advertising is designed to influence. The court concluded that AIT's advertising was directed at "computer and web savvy individuals who could utilize dedicated servers to host internet domains" and those individuals would not make such investments based only on such "self-serving" advertising.
TIP: While puffery is determined on a case-by-case basis, general and self-laudatory statements directed to a sophisticated market may be found to constitute puffery.