Trader‘s advertising towards consumers must contain all material information and be given also in a timely manner (see Art. 7 para. 2 EU Directive 2005/29/EC, implemented in Sec. 5a para. 2 German Act against Unfair Competition). In particular, information on trader‘s identity, purchase price, arrangements for payment and performance, main characteristics of the product as well as certain special information requirements based on EU law (e. g. information regarding distance contracts and e-commerce) are regard as material.
Such rather strict requirements often lead to problems for advertisers, when an advertising medium is used involving limitations in terms of space and time in order to present all material information (e. g. online or TV advertisements). For such kind of situations, the EU Court of Justice (CJEU) in a preliminary ruling has now given some guidance enabling the advertiser to provide material information on a specific website (cf. CJEU, judgment of 26/10/2016 – C-611/14 – Canal Digital Danmark). If it is impossible in relation to the advertised product and the advertising medium to provide all material information, the commercial practice may mention only some of them, if the trader refers to its website for the rest, provided that the website contains the material information relating to the main characteristics of that product, the price and other conditions.
However, it remains unclear, which of the material information – as far as possible – must be mentioned on the advertising medium itself, and for which information it is eligible to refer to the trader’s website. In any case, it might be advisable that the further material information can be found directly on the linked website without any additional search (see: BGH, request for a preliminary ruling of 28/1/2016 – I ZR 213/14 – MeinPaket.de).