Sumo Logic, Inc. voluntarily agreed to discontinue all of the advertising claims identified by Splunk, Inc. in its challenge of Sumo Logic’s advertising before the National Advertising Division (NAD). The companies are both makers of software for log management and analytic systems. Splunk challenged a number of express and implied claims in Sumo Logic’s paid search advertising, press releases, and social media feeds, as well as on its website, comparing the two companies’ products. Splunk asserted that it offers certain features that are not available through Sumo Logic, but Sumo Logic incorrectly claimed it has six features which are not available on Splunk. Splunk further argued that the features of its services are superior to similar features in Sumo Logic’s product for at least nine of the features which Sumo Logic claims both services share. Sumo Logic, although noting that it disagreed with Splunk’s assertions, offered to resolve the dispute by voluntarily discontinuing all of the challenged claims. In its decision, the NAD stressed that comparative claims, like the claims made in this case, must be narrowly drawn to avoid falsely disparaging a competitor’s product. The NAD noted that “It is particularly important for an advertiser to provide truthful and accurate information in an environment where there is a choice between competing technologies, and consumers cannot independently verify the accuracy of the challenged claims.”
TIP: Comparative claims about product features and functionality should be narrowly drawn and appropriately qualified by clear and conspicuous disclosures to avoid falsely disparaging a competitor or its products.