Dignity and Reputation Protection
Natural persons (public figures)
Applying to the court for dignity protection is a widespread practice among public figures, mainly politicians and public officers in Ukraine, and Jurvneshservice lawyers participated in more than ten disputes of that kind, representing Mikheil Saakashvili, the former Georgian president interests during his political activities in Ukraine in disputes with some high official such as Arsen Avakov, Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, and Roman Nasirov, Head of the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine.
The team consisting of Gennadii Tsirat, Dmytro Salatiuk and Kateryna Tsirat built its defense strategy on the basis of principles developed by Ukrainian court practice and practice of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
Kateryna Tsirat shared her opinion on that principles in some articles published in professional newspapers and Facebook.
The particuliariaty of cases on dignity protection is that in such disputes the two fundamental freedoms – the right to respect for private life and the freedom of expression – are always “in natural conflict”. Politicians, well-known businessmen, officials, in other words public figures are often “exposed” to sometimes painful and even insulting criticism on the part of press or their colleagues, so they instinctively immediately desire to protect their good name in court, especially if the kind of mentioned statements are spread on the eve of lection or in political scandals where public figures who became a target of sharp criticism are involved.
Public figures – plaintiffs in matters on dignity protection should bear in mind that (1) they have really little chance to win a dispute contra journalists, because journalistic freedom covers even possible recourse to a degree of exaggeration, or even provocation that in practice means that journalists actually have “cart blanche” for sharp sayings; (2) value-judgments (“dull”, “corrupt politician”) are not susceptible of proof and, consequently, cannot be subject to refutation, therefore, application to a court to receive public apologies from journalists in case of criticism in form of emotional statements (“immoral politician”) is a vain kid; (3) only factual statements that are false can be refuted, and their falseness must be proved; (4) the most difficult task is to prove that a criticism or dissemination of certain, often private or confidential, information were directed against a particular person, with the aim of defaming of that particular person for a certain, not for public benefit, purpose.
Business reputation of companies
A business reputation, or goodwill, is a special intangible asset of a company, its appraisal by society, consumers, followers and business community, a “name” that can be built up during the years and be destroyed overnight as a result of unsuccessful advertising or discovery and emergence of certain either true or false facts about the company.
In comparison with individuals companies do not tend to engage in disputes on business reputation protection, and often company’s reputation infringement are or may be connected with unfair competition, dissemination of confidential information about the company, violation of intellectual property rights that is, for example, particularly relevant to businesses operationg via franchising model.
The main tast in such litigations for companies is to prove losses caused by dissemination of false information, as well as the fact that another company or person spoiling business reputation of the company receives some benefits, primarily economic ones.
Unfair competition may be manifested by unlawful use of another company’s name, trade mark, products or services that leads to confusion or even identification with the name of the compoany who is a competitor; dissemination of false, misleading or uncertain information concerning the competitor; slandering of the competitor in different forms, including advertising through plots blackening the competitor. It is obvious that unfair competition is possible only among similar businesses.
Thus, infringement of business reputation of companies may entail not only refutation of inaccurate information, or, for example, termination of slandering of a company’s name, but also civil, administrative and even criminal liability.
That is why the best way for a claimant to reimburse all the losses is to prove infringement of the provisions on protection against unfair competition and intellectual property rights.
The protection of company in such cases may include either application to the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine or application to a court (or both procedures), passing the procedure in the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine.
Jurvneshservice lawyers are familiar with modern judicial practice in such cases and after thorough analysis of the case will be able to offer an optimal strategy of “attack” – in case of claimant – or vice versa – “defense” – in case of defendant.