SLANDER OF GOODS
Slander of goods consists of a false statement, disparaging a man's goods, published maliciously and causing him special damage. This is also known as 'trade libel' .
To maintain an action for slander of goods it is necessary to prove---
1) That the defendant disparaged the plaintiff's goods;
2) That such disparagement was false;
3) That it was made maliciously.
By virtue of the defamation Act, 1952, in England in an action for slander of goods, it shall not be necessary to allege or prove special damage as in the two cases specified in slander of title referred to above.
A statement by a trader that his own goods are superior to those of another trader, even if untrue and the cause of loss to the other trader, gives no cause of action. An allegation that such a statement was made maliciously could not convert a statement prima facie lawful into one prima facie unlawful.
The plaintiff had for many years carried on the business of an engineer and boiler-maker under the name of Ratcliffe and sons. The defendant published in his newspaper falsely and maliciously that the plaintiff had ceased to carry on his business and that the firm of Ratcliffe & sons did not then exist. It was held that the defendant was liable and that evidence of general loss of business was sufficient to support the action.
We, the proprietor of vane's food for infants, etc., bought from Mellon and sold to his customers mellin's food. W affixed to the wrappers on mellin's food a label stating that Vane's food was far more nutritious and healthful then any other. It was not proved that the statement was untrue or that it had caused any damage to the plaintiffs. It was held that W's conduct did not amount to a trade libel, but was merely a puff by a rival trader. The plaintiff and the defendant were the owners of newspaper circulating in the same locality, and the defendant published a statement which was untrue, that "the circulation of" his newspaper "is 20 to 1 of any other weekly paper" in the district: and "where others count by the dozen, we count by hundred." It was held that those statement were not a mere puff but amount to an untrue disparagement of plaintiff's newspaper, and were actionable on proof of actual damage.