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Can I copy a competitor's sales pitch in my advertising?

Updated: May 2

It is possible to legally copy an idea behind another advertisement, but you cannot substantially reproduce the other advertisement.

In the case of Budget Eyewear Australia Pty Limited v Specsavers Pty Ltd [2010] FCA 507, Budget Eyewear advertised:

"If your Specsavers glasses break (and we're not saying they will) we'll replace them with a pair of ours for free".

Specsavers counter attacked with this advertisement:

“If your OPSM glasses happen to break, and we’re not saying they’re going to, we’ll exchange them with a pair from Specsavers with a 2 year guarantee, for free”.

Budget Eyewear sued Specsavers for copyright infringement.

The Court accepted Budget Eyewear's argument that "Specsavers could have copied the idea but exercised its own imagination to express that novel concept in new and different language rather than… 'using a thesaurus' to substitute a synonym."

The Court decided that the Specsavers advertisement took a substantial part of the Budget Eyewear advertisements.

The Court ordered: "Until further order, the Respondent be restrained from publishing or communicating, or causing the publication or communication of the advertisement ... The costs of the application for interlocutory relief be the Applicant’s costs in the cause."

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