Small Businesses and Comparison Advertising Strategies: Is it Worth the Risk?


  • Karen Russo France West Virginia University
  • Paula Fitzgerald Bone West Virginia University
  • James W. France Buchanan Ingersoll, P.C.


Research shows that comparison ads can be particularly effective for businesses with relatively small market shares. However, there are legal risks associated with such strategies. Therefore, in this article we overview constitutional law, common law, and statutory law as they relate to claims made about competitors in comparative advertising. We carefully explore First Amendment rights and then examine the various causes of action in deception suits and Section 43a of the Lanham Act. We conclude with suggestions for the small business owner using comparison advertising to gain market share.


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How to Cite

France, K. R., Bone, P. F., & France, J. W. (1996). Small Businesses and Comparison Advertising Strategies: Is it Worth the Risk?. Journal of Small Business Strategy, 7(1), 81–98. Retrieved from