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Correcting reputation, neutralizing negative reviews

The impeccable reputation of a legal entity is a convincing guarantor that allows you to attract new commercial partners, promote your own brand, expand sales markets. Any negative impact on reputation carries risks to reduce the growth rate of the enterprise and significantly reduce the profit.

Right to protect business reputation

The reputation of the enterprise and the organization is protected by various legislative acts. Among them:

  • The Civil Code of the Russian Federation in the first part of the law protects the reputation of the company and allows it to defend it by all permissible methods.
  • Decree of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation of 23.05.2006 emphasizes the importance of judicial decisions in the matter of restoring the honor of the legal entity and in material compensation for reputational losses.

Correction of the reputation of legal entities of all forms of ownership lies in the sphere of operation of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation. And the civil courts are engaged in questions on reimbursement of risks or restoration of the good name of the company. At the legislative level, the interpretation of the phrase "business reputation" is not fixed. But practicing lawyers and businessmen mean by this concept a set of reliable data on a particular economic enterprise or commercial organization. This information allows you to get an idea of the business, professional qualities of the company's employees, about decency, observance of contractual relations and so on.

The legal value of business reputation

In the Civil Code of the Russian Federation, the phrase "business reputation of a legal entity" occurs only three times. Based on art. 152, 1027 and 1042, the following conclusions can be drawn:

  • The business reputation of any legal entity is an intangible good.
  • Reputation of the company, firm, organization can be transferred, in this its difference from the reputation of an individual.
  • Correction of the reputation of legal entities and individuals is conducted by identical methods.

Transfer of the legal entity's reputation

If the first and third paragraphs mentioned above do not need explanations, the second one can be discussed in more detail. The reputation of a firm can be alienated together with tangible and intangible property. The first can include stocks of goods, semi-finished products, buildings, shops, and others. Intangible property includes trademarks, development of various projects, research results, patents for inventions. When transferring ownership to the new owner, the well-deserved reputation of the firm also automatically passes. Since the transfer of ownership, all the worries related to the preservation of reputation, fall on the shoulders of new owners.

As you can see, the reputation of an organization is a standard asset that has a direct impact on the economic activities of this entity. An impeccable reputation significantly increases the company's profit, attracts new partners and investors. Negative becomes a barrier between representatives of the company and its potential clients.

Who is dealing with the restoration of the image?

According to Article 33 of the APC of the Russian Federation, cases concerning the protection of reputation in the sphere of economic activity are in the jurisdiction of arbitration courts. Appeal to the court takes place if it is required to correct reputation due to the damage caused to it. Similar circumstances can arise in three cases:

  • The fact of wide dissemination of information about a legal entity.
  • The clearly defaming nature of this information.
  • Inconsistency of the disclosed information with real facts.

Decree of the Plenum of the RF Armed Forces reveals these points in more detail. Thus, the dissemination of information may include placement in the media, in the network, in public speeches, during interviews of various statements concerning the enterprise. Defective information is deliberately untrue facts, which are set out by the slanderer. False data may relate to various sectors of the company's activities - non - payment of taxes, poor-quality products, violations of business agreements, non-payment of bills for obligations and other. Such actions lead to loss of reputation of the legal entity, and representatives of the enterprise or organization have the right to demand compensation from the slanderer.

Facts and judgments

As this document emphasizes, it is necessary to distinguish between value judgments and subjective opinions and deliberately false statements about facts, the legitimacy of which can be directly verified. Judgments and conjectures can not be checked, and therefore, the subject of the trial will not be.

If the case of the correction of reputation is submitted to the court, the plaintiff has the right to demand immediate action from the respondent to refute untruthful information. For example, publicly admit their mistakes, correct or cancel the publication that triggered the trial.

Restoring the image

If the organization has suffered losses as a result of the dissemination of defamatory information, the correction of reputation through a court decision can be carried out with compensation for material damage. In this case, the plaintiff's lawyers may face some difficulties. The point is that in court we will talk about lost profits. And even if you bring in all the witnesses and the bale of unsigned contracts, the actual damage will still be impossible to assess.

It is easy to earn a reputation as an unscrupulous partner, and it is much more difficult to restore spirits. Even with a fair verdict and compensation of any amount as a material damage, the news of dishonesty of representatives of this company will spread far and long, and no respondent will be able to compensate for all losses.

Criminal liability

Contradictory Russian judicial practice allows the protection of the reputation of the enterprise and with the help of certain provisions of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. In particular, we are talking about Art. 42 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which describes in which cases a legal entity can be recognized as a victim. For example, this article deals with such offenses:

  • Illegal use of a brand or trademark;
  • Illegal receipt or disclosure of information that represents a commercial, banking or tax secret.

Defending their business reputation, law enforcers can initiate a criminal case with subsequent transfer to the court. A legal entity for its part has the right to demand compensation for the harm inflicted. In the framework of civil proceedings such compensation may be tangible and intangible. Among the latter - an official refutation of untruthful information, public apologies and so on. But in the criminal proceedings, the issue of material compensation is not considered.

Legal regulation

It must be admitted that at the moment most of the legal levers responsible for improving business reputation are hopelessly outdated. Issues of compensation for material damage require special consideration and consolidation in the form of a separate article of the Civil Code of our country. Within the framework of possible changes, it will not be superfluous to work out terminology that should correspond to current protection requests. For example, there is still no unambiguous explanation for the term "moral harm" and the corresponding legal assessment of this concept.

At the moment, lawyers operate with the information letter of the Presidium of the Supreme Arbitration Court of the Russian Federation from 1999. Since its publication more than 15 years have passed. Many provisions are no longer relevant in the realities of today's economic environment. The introduction of changes to this normative act or the adoption of a new legal instrument will have a beneficial effect on the legislation of our country and will relieve the tension in matters of compensation for moral damage.

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