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QLD Defamation Claim for Use of Word in Dictionary?

Discussion in 'Defamation Law Forum' started by defamation, 6 August 2016.

  1. defamation

    defamation Member

    6 August 2016
    Likes Received:
    I used the word [Moderator Redacted - Dictionary Word] in advertising ie "Don't trust a [Moderator Redacted - Dictionary Word] with your accounts get a Professional".

    Now I am being sued for defamation by a competitor because they are named M S. This person has not advertised or made themselves known before now, and I have used this particular word in advertising previously. Can this go anywhere?

    It seems this is based on us definitely knowing of his existence and that he was close by, which we didn't. This firm doesn't even have a website and doesn't show in google searches.

    On the same day we were made aware of his existence by him rocking up to our business address, he was physically and verbally abusive, stole our business sign and attempted to cause damage to the sign, a young 3-year-old child playing and a dog when later made to return the sign.

    This has been documented to police and they attended the property and his premises the same day. They were unable to arrest M S due to his levels of intoxication at this time.
  2. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

    27 May 2014
    Likes Received:
    Maybe. While it seems like a strange coincidence you capitalised the word of your competitor in marketing material, your intent is not relevant.

    You seem to have all elements of defamation present, and a legal defence looks unlikely unless you have solid proof he is untrustworthy.

    Question is whether he has standing to sue. I suspect so, as he is likely a one man operation or small business (inferred from no website).

    You seem to imply, or hope to prove, you never heard of this person if this goes further. Forget it, not relevant. He only needs to show a connection between your slogan and his name. This doesn't seem like it will be hard for him to prove.

    Maybe you should make an offer of amends, with an apology and immediately cease use of the slogan to try and head off court action?

    BTW, publishing your slogan here is likely to add to his action if he finds it. Suggest you contact the site admin and have the slogan removed.
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  3. Gorodetsky

    Gorodetsky Well-Known Member

    21 February 2016
    Likes Received:
    What?! I can't believe they told you this or that you believed it.

    A Court will take a dim view of your advertising strategy. It is pretty transparent.

    You sort of need some bargaining chips, and if this guy broke the law, those would be your chips...but the police didn't bother to enforce the law huh? Maybe you ought to phone them again.

    I hope this helps.


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