At the end of 2019, the Civil Chamber of the Supreme Court (Tribunal Supremo)
ruled on a new case in which a new digital case was put on the table, which totally damaged the prestige and reputation of a medical centre.
Although the position of the Court of First Instance, Provincial Court and Supreme Court was disparate, the conclusions of the Civil Chamber of the Supreme Court are once again brilliant, advocating for the full protection of companies’ honor and exposing a flexible interpretation in accordance with the social uses of art. 7. 7 of the L. O. 1/1982, of 5 May It is understood that it is not necessary for the declaration of an illegitimate interference with the right to honour that the manifestations are express or written, but that in the light of the circumstances that concur in the malicious attitude of the person promoting such practices, honour (whether a natural or legal person) can also be understood to have been violated.
Specifically, what happened in that case was that a competitor created a website with the same nomenclature as the applicant so that when it was accessed, the user was redirected to a pornographic website. In that regard, the judgment stated that «the action of the defendants, by giving a website whose only content was a redirection to a pornographic website a name that could be confused with the applicant’s website, since they only differed in that one ended in «.es» and the other in «. com», is disparaging for the applicant, since by means of that technical device, which is undoubtedly malicious, the actions of the applicant company, which is dedicated to providing medical services, are connected with an activity that deserves unfavourable social consideration, such as pornography, and therefore the business, professional and social consideration of that applicant company is undermined and the people who work in it. «
And from AVERUM Abogados we cannot agree more
With such a pronouncement of the Supreme Court, since it establishes in the technological society an integral protection for the companies that see their reputation or prestige affected, fighting those technological practices that nowadays take place.
A pronouncement such as that of the Provincial Court of Navarra would lead to the most absolute lack of protection for all those who, without being the object of express messages that damage their honour, are affected by actions that in some indirect way cause manifest damage to their prestige and, therefore, the virtual scenario would be like a whole regime of impunity for the subject who denigrates or publishes untrue news.
In that case, it is clear that the defendant’s and competitor’s intention was none other than to bring the medical centre into disrepute in its commercial sphere by intentionally redirecting every user to a porn site. And in this respect, as the Chamber points out, pornography deserves unfavourable social consideration and may cause a decline in the business, professional and social consideration of a commercial one.
For this reason, the Civil Chamber of the SC upheld the appeal in cassation lodged by the injured party, overturning the Court’s ruling and declaring that there had been an unlawful interference with the right to honour, agreeing to grant the requested compensation of 3,000 euros and to publish the extract from the ruling.
Therefore, it is wonderful news that our Supreme Court values daily virtual events in a protectionist way for companies and opens the door for all those who are affected to go to court in order to restore their prestige and, furthermore, with the simultaneous aim of being able to recover the patrimonial damages suffered.
Here, at AVERUM Abogados, we defend the reputation of the companies before the competent jurisdiction requesting the restitution of the damages caused.