A company may be ordered to make public the content of court judgments finding it liable for unfair competition practices, according to the Supreme Court.

Under the Act on Suppressing Unfair Competition, the court may require an unfair competitor to make a public statement in a newspaper about its wrongdoing, in order to mitigate the consequences of the unfair trading. This has led to a dispute whether claimants can require defendants to make public the content of a court judgment.

In the case recently resolved by the Supreme Court, a wine importer successfully sued a rival for unfair competition (selling wine under a similar label) and asked that it be ordered to publish the content of the ruling in a newspaper. Its request was denied by the courts of first and second instance. The appeal court ruled that the rival company could be required, under the Act, to publish statements such as apologies or explanations to consumers, but not the content of a court ruling.

However, this was overruled by the Supreme Court, which held that companies could be required, under the Act, to publish the content of a court ruling as a form of compensation, as long as the costs of publication were not excessive (ie could be justified by the seriousness of the company’s unfair competition).

This decision is unprecedented in that its effect is to provide an additional remedy for companies affected by unfair competition.

Law: Supreme Court ruling I CSK 499/12