August 09, 2011 5:29pm PT by Matthew Belloni
Judge Denies Comcast Request to Stop DirecTV Ad Campaign
A federal judge in Illinois has declined a Comcast request for a temporary restraining order against competitor DirecTV to halt an ad campaign it deemed deceptive.
Comcast sued DirecTV earlier this month claiming that a national campaign was intended to mislead football fans into thinking they would be getting "free" football with with their service. Comcast argued that DirecTV was trying to pull a bait-and-switch, luring fans with "free offers" but actually imposing on them a two-year contract with "hefty" cancellation fees, plus automatic renewal in the second year at the full price.
El Segundo, Calif.-based DirecTV quickly responded by claiming the allegation "borders on absurd." The actual phrase in its ads is "no extra charge," the company responded, which has allegedly been transposed to "free" by Comcast "as if it means the same thing."
Now a federal court has agreed, declining to halt the ad campaign.
DirecTV issued the following statement from Jon Gieselman, its senior vp marketing and direct sales.
"We're pleased the judge recognized Comcast's veiled attempt to limit our ability to compete in the marketplace and denied the TRO. We're happy to go head-to-head with Comcast any day on whose service is superior, so we look forward to competing in the marketplace rather than the courtroom."