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Unfair Business Practices Act

NB: Unofficial translation based on Finlex Data Bank, updated by Dittmar & Indrenius on 8 December 2022.

1061/78, amendments up to 596/2018 included

Section 1

(1) Good business practice may not be violated nor may practices that are otherwise unfair to other entrepreneurs be used in business.

(2) The commercial purpose of marketing and the party on whose behalf the marketing is done shall clearly appear from the marketing.

Section 2

(1) A false or misleading expression concerning one's own business or the business of another may not be used in business if the said expression is likely to affect the demand for or supply of a product or harm the business of another.

(2) An expression that refers to irrelevant circumstances or that is presented or formulated in an unsuitable manner may not be used in business if the said expression is likely to harm the business of another.

The Subsection 3 has been repealed by the Act 29.8.2008/562.

Section 2a

(1) Marketing, from which a competitor or a product marketed by a competitor may be directly or indirectly identified (comparative marketing), shall be permitted for the comparison's part, if:

  1. it is not false or misleading;
  2. it concerns products used for the same purpose or for the same needs;
  3. it impartially compares one or several essential, relevant, demonstrable and representative characteristic of  a product, or prices of products;
  4. it does not pose a risk of confusion between an advertiser and a competitor or their trademarks, commercial names or other distinctive marks or their products;
  5. it does not disparage or derogate a competitor's trademark, commercial name or other distinctive mark or product, operations or conditions;
  6. it does not unfairly exploit the reputation of a competitor's trademark, commercial name or the reputation of other distinctive mark or the designation of origin of a product marketed by a competitor;
  7. it does not present a product as an imitation or reproduction of a product with protected trademark.

(2) In addition, comparative marketing of special offers shall clearly state the duration of such an offer and, should the offer be valid for as long as the products are available, a mention thereof.

(3) Other than with regards to comparison, comparative marketing shall be subject to what is prescribed elsewhere in law of advertising and other types of marketing.

Section 3

The Subsections 1 and 2 have been repealed by the Act 11.3.2011/231.

If discounts, additional benefits or other specific benefits are offered in the marketing or if the marketing involves disposal by lottery, prize contests for the public or games, the conditions for receiving the benefits or for participating in the lottery, contest or game shall be stated in a clear and comprehensible manner and be easily accessible.

Section 4

Section 4 has been repealed by the Act 10.8.2018/596.

Section 5 (30.12.2015/1619)

(1) An entrepreneur shall have the right to keep its retail shop and its barber shop and hair salon located in a shopping centre or other equivalent store concentration closed on one day of the calendar week on a weekday chosen by the entrepreneur. However, this right shall not exist on a calendar week, in which the shopping centre or the equivalent store concentration is kept open for less than seven calendar days under a contract binding on the entrepreneur.

(2) A provision contrary to paragraph 1 and other equal arrangement shall be invalid towards the entrepreneur.

(3) The provisions of this Section shall apply to an entrepreneur, at whose shops referred to in paragraph 1 work regularly a maximum of five people.

Section 6

(1) An entrepreneur may be prohibited from continuing or repeating practices that violate Sections 1-3. The prohibition may be reinforced trough a conditional fine, unless this is unnecessary for a special reason.

(2) If there is a special reason for this, the prohibition may also be directed at a person in the service of an entrepreneur referred to in the preceding first Subsection, or a another person acting on his behalf.

Subsections 3 has been repealed by the Act 10.8.2018/596.

Section 7

The prohibition referred to in Section 6 may be imposed as interim, in which case the prohibition shall remain in force until the case is finally decided.

Section 7a

Reimbursement for damages caused by a procedure contrary to this Act shall be governed by the Tort Liability Act (412/1974).

Section 8

(1) In imposing the prohibition referred to in the Section 6, the court may order the entrepreneur to undertake appropriate remedial action with a specified period, if this is deemed necessary on the grounds of the evident harm caused by the act. The order may be reinforced trough a conditional fine.

(2) On the motion of the applicant, the court may order that the decision in a case involving a prohibition referred to in Section 6 shall be published in one or more newspapers or periodicals at the expense of the defendant. The publication of a decision on a temporary ban may not be ordered.

Section 8a

(1) In a dispute concerning proceedings contrary to this Act ,, the court may, on the request of the claimant,  order that the defendant must reimburse the costs incurred to the claimant for disclosing, through appropriate actions, information about the non-appealable judgment in which the defendant has been found to have been in violation of this Act. The order may not be issued if other law restricts the distribution of the information. When considering the issuance of the order and the content of the order, the court shall take into account the general significance of the disclosure, the quality and extent of the infringement, the cost of the disclosure and other similar factors.

(2) The court determines the maximum amount of reasonable disclosure costs to be reimbursed by the defendant. The claimant shall not be entitled to reimbursement if information about the judgment has not been disclosed within the period ordered by the court from the date on which the judgement became non-appealable.

Section 9

(1) Whoever violates deliberately or out of gross negligence, the provisions of Sections 2 or 3 shall be sentenced to a fine for a violation of the competition rules relating to business practices, unless a more severe sentence is governed elsewhere in law for the act or omission.

(2) Whoever deliberately violates the provisions of Section 2 (1) commits an offence referred to in Section 2 of chapter 30 of the Penal Code and shall be sentenced for an infringement of the competition rules relating to business practices in accordance with the Penal Code.

Section 10

Section 10 has been repealed by the Act 10.8.2018/596.

Section 10a

(1) Matters imposing prohibitions referred to in Section 6, as well as disputes arising on the basis of this Act, shall be heard in the Market Court.

(2) The hearing of the cases referred to in Subsection 1 in the Market Court is governed in the Market Court Proceedings Act (100/2013).

Section 10b

When a dispute under this Act commences, the court shall send without delay a copy of the document instituting the proceedings to the Consumer Ombudsman for information.

Section 11

(1) A charge for the offence and violation referred to in Section 9 will be heard in the District Court. A public prosecutor shall not bring charges of a violation under this Act, unless the injured party has reported the matter to be prosecuted.

(2) In the case of prosecution referred to in paragraph 1, a claim for damages arising from the offence referred to in the indictment may be dealt with without prejudice to Section 10 a.

(3) The court remains competent to examine the claim referred to in paragraph 2, although in the circumstances that established the jurisdiction, a change occurs after the claim is made.

(4) When considering cases referred to in Sections 2 and 3 of this Act, the court shall reserve the Consumer Ombudsman an opportunity to be heard.

Section 11a

(1) When hearing a case referred to in Section 11, the District Court may be assisted by up to two expert members referred to in Chapter 17, Section 10 (2) of the Courts Act (673/2016).

(2) The expert shall give a written opinion on the questions addressed to him by the District Court. The expert has the right to address questions to parties and witnesses. Before deciding on the case, the District Court shall reserve the parties an opportunity to comment on the opinion of the expert.

(3) Expert's right to a fee is governed in Chapter 17, Section 22 of the Courts Act.

Section 12

This Act shall enter into force on 1 January 1979. It repeals the Act on the Prevention of Unfair Competition of 31 January 1930 (34/1930).

The Finnish version of the Unfair Business Practices Act is accessible via this link

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