Puffery Doctrine

It’s fairly common for companies to make sweeping claims in the course of day-to-day business. While this can be misleading, it is not particularly illegal. The “puffery doctrine” covers the line between unbridled optimism and misrepresentation.

From Room for Optimism: The “Puffery” Defense under the Federal Securities Laws:

Although there is some variation from circuit to circuit, as a general matter, under the “puffery” or “corporate optimism” doctrine, the courts have ruled that an alleged misrepresentation is not actionable where:

  • It is so vague that it is not subject to being either proved or disproved.
  • It is a nonspecific expression of optimism regarding future performance.
  • It is a future projection stated as an opinion and not as a guarantee, or which is indefinite as to time.

See also:

  • This sort of makes sense that courts must take this stance otherwise they would need to be arbiters of truth which is maybe not possible
  • False precision is another form of “puffery”