Margin of appreciation overstepped by imposing injunction that is too broad

11-12-2003 Print this page
IPPT20031211, ECHR, Krone Verlag v Austria



Violation of Article 10 ECHR: Austrian courts overstepped their margin of appreciation. The injunction is too broad and impairs the essence of price comparison. Furthermore, the practical implementation of the injunction is highly difficult.


"33.  In looking closer at the impact of the impugned injunction on the applicant company, the Court observes that no penalty was imposed. However, the measure at issue has quite far-reaching consequences as regards future advertising involving price comparison: the applicant company will also need to provide information on how its reporting style differs on matters of foreign or domestic politics, economy, culture, science, health, environmental issues and law. The Court considers the injunction to be far too broad, impairing the very essence of price comparison. Moreover, its practical implementation – although not impossible – in general appears to be highly difficult for the applicant company. Furthermore, the applicant company risks the imposition of fines for non-compliance with the injunction.

34.  The Court notes that, in the instant case, the domestic courts gave priority to the protection of the reputation of the other competitor and the rights of readers against misleading advertising. However, when balancing the conflicting interests involved and taking account of the impact of the injunction on the applicant company's possibilities in future for advertising involving price comparison, the Court considers that the Austrian courts overstepped their margin of appreciation in the present case, and that the measure at issue was disproportionate and therefore not “necessary in a democratic society” within the meaning of Article 10 § 2 of the Convention."


IPPT20031211, ECHR, Krone Verlag v Austria


no. 39069/97