The German Act against unfair competition (UWG) prohibits certain practices and classifies them as unfair. In contrast to the industrial property rights being protected as immaterial property, the UWG deals with market participants applying unfair practices during their activity in the course of trade.
The current UWG contains a majority of European regulations. Of utmost importance is Rule 2005/29/EG concerning unfair business practices (so-called UGP-Rule), which has harmonized the relation between enterprises and consumer in fair trading law throughout Europe.
Competitors, chambers of industry and commerce, chambers of craft, consumer associations or associations of market participants can base potential claims on the UWG. Depending on the constellation, in particular injunctive relief, but also claims for removal as well as claims for information and damages may be considered in this respect.
Apart from prohibiting unfair business practices and activities including cases of misusing signs, the UWG protects industrial property rights and in particular industrial designs from being copied, within the framework of the so-called supplementary protection of performances. In contrast to the industrial property rights, this legal institution does not require registration, however, the product being copied must fulfill certain requirements as for example competitive originality. According to our experience, the competent courts in general tend to stretch the supplementary protection of performances, as far as no special rights like trademarks, patents, utility models or industrial designs are concerned. Due to this advantage, the UWG offers an effective way to fight against copying. Especially by way of injunction it is possible to bar the sale of copied products and to clear the market within short.
In this matter we support and advise you comprehensively, taking into account possible existing industrial property rights, and we represent you before the competent courts in potential actions and injunction proceedings.
We are looking forward to serving you.
Please contact us by phone at no. +49 221 37 987 900
Dr. Christoph Geskes
Dr. Daniel Künkel