A High Court judge has thrown out an attempt by British Airways to ban advertising by its low-cost rival Ryanair.
BA claimed the ads, which pointed out the different price of tickets on the two airlines, were maliciously false.
Commenting on one particular ad campaign, which asterisked the word “bastards” using the line: “Expensive BA****ds”, Mr Justice Jacob said it was “honest comparative advertising.”
BA also claimed that use in the two ads of the letters BA infringed a trade mark registered in 1988. The judge rejected the claim and said that while the ad might amount to vulgar abuse, it did not constitute malicious falsehood.
The judge went on to say that the reason BA did not like the comparisons made by the Dublin-based airline, because they were true, and that BA had been “immature” to persist with the case.
Michael O’Leary, Ryanair’s chief executive, says: “We are amazed that BA would spend vast sums of money in the High Court just to prove what everybody else already knows, namely that British Airways is outrageously expensive, and has been charging outrageously high air fares to its British and European customers.”
BA was ordered to pay an estimated &£260,000 legal bill.