Please click the [ Mark Complete ] button at the bottom of this page when you’ve achieved these goals:
- Understand that the public information legal requirements in your country may be significantly different to those in New Zealand, where your IBN website template was created.
- Research the legal implications in your country of mentioning competitors in information and communications.
- Customise your template-based website pages as necessary to ensure that no competitor will succeed with a legal challenge.
- Review and if necessary update all affected documentation.
- Review and if necessary update all affected business communications.
- Review and if necessary update all affected standard procedures and personnel training.
IBN Licensees have website content based on a template created in New Zealand.
While this information may be legally acceptable in NZ, it possibly may NOT be legally acceptable in your country.
This was made clear to the IBN network in October 2019, when a Licensee was challenged by their local GS1 branch, and GS1 turned out to be correct – in that particular country it is illegal to publicly compare your business with competitors.
What do you need to do?
To avoid possible legal action from GS1 or other barcode-reseller competitors, you may need to first establish the legal requirements in your country, and then you may need to review and edit your public information and communications for all media and personnel.
Watch this video to understand the issue:
124 – CAUTION – Be careful with any mention of GS1 and/or other competitors
Summary (October 2019): Following a legal challenge to an IBN Licensee from their local GS1 branch, we need to carefully review our public information (web pages, documents etc) and business communications (Email, phone, text messages, etc) to avoid possible legal action from GS1 or our barcode-reseller competitors. Please bear in mind that your website is based on a template from New Zealand that may not quite meet your country’s legal requirements. Because laws vary between countries, we cannot create a single IBN policy, nor can we simply replicate the same public information – every IBN Licensee needs to review their information and communications in relation to their own laws.
Video content: | We have Warnings on some of our sites about competitors, but we need to be especially careful with GS1 | Our “Why Buy From Us” page – Letter from GS1 Belgium alleging “spurious and derogatory comparisons” – you may need to change this page, possibly by removing reference to “GS1” | One of our Licensees has been challenged by GS1 because they referred specifically to GS1 in their country, and that country has a law against direct comparisons, so the Licensee was deemed to be breaching the law | Laws vary between countries – you need to be aware of your own laws and avoid breaching them | We considered comparisons between IBN and generic competitors, but it isn’t useful – we do need to compare with GS1, so we’re replacing the text “GS1” with “Membership Organisations” (of which GS1 is of course the primary) | You need to thoroughly check your site and be prepared to defend any statements that you make about other Resellers, and about GS1 | The most likely action you could provoke would be a “Cease and Desist” Letter, which could then lead to legal action against you if you did not comply | An alternative to a provocative direct comparison – some IBN members simply list their strengths | IMPORTANT – be aware of what you say on the phone as it could be recorded, and be careful what you state in Emails or any other correspondence – we need to now anticipate the attention of GS1 and be cautious in our communications |
Research the legal implications in your country of mentioning competitors in information and communications
Can you mention competitors?
Can you compare your business with theirs?
Can you provide information on them that may show them up in a bad way?
Is it worth seeking legal advice on this topic?
Review and if necessary update all affected areas of your website
Search your website for any mention of GS1.
Update where necessary.
Review and if necessary update all affected documentation
Documents, brochures, advertisements, videos, etc
Review and if necessary update all affected business communications
Email, phone, text messages, etc
Review and if necessary update all affected standard procedures and personnel training
Especially as they relate to competitors.
IMPORTANT: Be sure to warn personnel about entrapment – where a fake “customer” asks questions about your competitors and records the response, or asks for this information by Email.
Business structure, communication and reducing risk. This is VERY important as mistakes in these areas can be troublesome and expensive.
Any business has risk, and we want to help you to minimise it as much as possible while remaining successfull, communicating clearly with customers, and maintaining integrity and honesty |
1. The Structure | YOU are the seller, not International Barcodes Network – this hasn’t been very clear in the About Us pages of many websites – the About Us must refer to your own business | Different rules or requirements per country, and this varies between easy and difficult – NZ is unusually easy, but you need to customise your own appropraite structure rather than use our “easygoing” Limited Liability company template – you need to somehow establish this legally | Using some other existing company or structure – Advantages – but barcodes could add risk | Note that you can start a structure and then change it – get local legal and tax advice | Your business structure should be shown on your website in the Terms and Conditions, About Us, and Impressum |
2. The Website | Terms and Conditions should be VERY clear – example of IBL site Terms and Conditions – you need to check YOURS as they don’t relate to us, may be too wordy for your business and you may need legal advice that we did not need | Important points to note in our example, especially Section 8 on reducing your liability… example of a barcode business closing after being sued – you must state that you are not respnsible for other damages – we state it in multiple places | Example of clauses that you should have, based on our experience | Your About Us page, Footer, Guarantee, Amazon page, visitors must be clear on what you claim and don’t claim, Comparison pages, Why buy from us | It can be dangerous to mention GS1 (we’ve had legal letters from them)… a licensee example |
3. Communication | Communicate like a politician to be safe, never make guarantees, always assume that your statements will reach the wrong people, assume phonecalls will be recorded, always be consistent in what you say | Emails – ours have a Disclaimer Link | Be careful on phone and Live Chat | We avoid doing registration work for customers in case we get it wrong, always advise testing | Label printing |