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Enforcing IPRs: a European concise guide for luxury and fashion businesses - Germany

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Some advice to fashion and luxury businesses, from a barrister and solicitors practising in England & Wales and France, as well as a lawyer practising in Germany, specialising in intellectual property, on the practical steps to take in order to enforce one’s IPRS in France, Germany and the UK.
Holger Alt, ialci Member of the Executive Committee - responsible for Germany – and Partner, von Boetticher

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Enforcing IPRs: a European concise guide for luxury and fashion businesses - Germany

  1. 1. © von BOETTICHER Rechtsanwälte Partnerschaftsgesellschaft mbB BERLIN MÜNCHEN FRANKFURT A.M. Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights in Germany Dr. Holger Alt, M.L.E. Ialci, Law of luxury goods series“ London, 10th February 2015
  2. 2. © von BOETTICHER Rechtsanwälte Partnerschaftsgesellschaft mbB BERLIN MÜNCHEN FRANKFURT A.M. Characteristics of the German Civil Procedure I.  Cease and desist letter 1. Contractual penalty •  Only a cease and desist declaration with an appropriate contractual penalty is sufficient to avoid legal proceedings •  EUR 5,001 to 10,000 for each violation •  “Hamburg Practice”
  3. 3. © von BOETTICHER Rechtsanwälte Partnerschaftsgesellschaft mbB BERLIN MÜNCHEN FRANKFURT A.M. Characteristics of the German Civil Procedure 2. Necessity of sending a C&D letter in advance •  It is not mandatory to send a C&D to the infringer before starting court proceedings under German law but
  4. 4. © von BOETTICHER Rechtsanwälte Partnerschaftsgesellschaft mbB BERLIN MÜNCHEN FRANKFURT A.M. Characteristics of the German Civil Procedure The plaintiff has to bear the costs of the proceedings if the defendant immediately acknowledges the claims (see Sec. 93 German Civil Procedure Code) Exception: the lawsuit contains claims for searches and/or destruction
  5. 5. © von BOETTICHER Rechtsanwälte Partnerschaftsgesellschaft mbB BERLIN MÜNCHEN FRANKFURT A.M. Characteristics of the German Civil Procedure II. Preliminary injunction The German Civil Procedure Code offers a very effective legal remedy for brand owners in case of IP infringements: preliminary injunction: a court order to immediately prohibit the continuation of the infringing activities Generally, a preliminary injunction could be obtained “ex parte” within 24–48 hours (“surprise effect”) .
  6. 6. © von BOETTICHER Rechtsanwälte Partnerschaftsgesellschaft mbB BERLIN MÜNCHEN FRANKFURT A.M. Characteristics of the German Civil Procedure •  Only claims for cease and desist, disclosure and seizure of infringing goods can be enforced by a preliminary injunction (claims for damages, destruction or cost reimbursement can not!). •  The matter must be “urgent”, which means that the application will be dismissed if the brand owner unduly delays its motion for a preliminary injunction. There exists no fixed deadline but the application for preliminary injunction should be filed with the court within 4–6 weeks after the brand owner became aware of the infringement.
  7. 7. © von BOETTICHER Rechtsanwälte Partnerschaftsgesellschaft mbB BERLIN MÜNCHEN FRANKFURT A.M. Characteristics of the German Civil Procedure •  Approx. 80% of all IP infringement cases in Germany are finally solved on basis of preliminary injunctions.
  8. 8. © von BOETTICHER Rechtsanwälte Partnerschaftsgesellschaft mbB BERLIN MÜNCHEN FRANKFURT A.M. Characteristics of the German Civil Procedure III. Duration and Costs of the proceedings 1.  Duration of IP infringement cases in Germany (except patents) •  Approx. one year to receive a court order in the first instance plus approx. another 1 to 1 ½ years for the second instance.
  9. 9. © von BOETTICHER Rechtsanwälte Partnerschaftsgesellschaft mbB BERLIN MÜNCHEN FRANKFURT A.M. Characteristics of the German Civil Procedure 2. Court fees are determined on basis of the value of the case •  e.g. typical “values” of claims for cease and desist in trademark cases are EUR 100,000 up to EUR 500,000 for famous brands. Example: 1st instance main proceedings •  EUR 100,000 = EUR 2,718 •  EUR 500,000 = EUR 10,608
  10. 10. © von BOETTICHER Rechtsanwälte Partnerschaftsgesellschaft mbB BERLIN MÜNCHEN FRANKFURT A.M. Characteristics of the German Civil Procedure 3. Attorney fees In case there exists no fee agreement, the attorney fees are determined on basis of the German Act on Legal Fees for Lawyers (“statutory fees”). Example: 1st instance main proceedings with oral hearing •  EUR 100,000 = EUR 3,823 •  EUR 500,000 = EUR 8,937
  11. 11. © von BOETTICHER Rechtsanwälte Partnerschaftsgesellschaft mbB BERLIN MÜNCHEN FRANKFURT A.M. Characteristics of the German Civil Procedure 4. Claim for cost reimbursement Under German law exists a claim for cost reimbursement against the loosing party regarding the court and attorney fees but with regard to the attorney fees such claims are limited to the statutory fees.
  12. 12. © von BOETTICHER Rechtsanwälte Partnerschaftsgesellschaft mbB BERLIN MÜNCHEN FRANKFURT A.M. Characteristics of the German Civil Procedure III. Forum Shopping The German Federal Court of Justice (“Bundesgerichtshof”) has no jurisdiction in preliminary injunction proceedings – therefore the Higher Regional Courts (“Oberlandesgerichte”) are the last instance, leading to different case law in their respective court districts. Therefore, the choice of the “right” court might be crucial for the outcome of the case.
  13. 13. © von BOETTICHER Rechtsanwälte Partnerschaftsgesellschaft mbB MÜNCHEN Widenmayerstraße 6 80538 München T +49 / 89 / 22 33 11 F +49 / 89 / 21 21 59 59 BERLIN Oranienstraße 164 10969 Berlin T +49 / 30 / 61 68 94 03 F +49 / 30 / 61 68 94 56 FRANKFURT A.M. Freiherr-vom-Stein-Straße 11 60323 Frankfurt am Main T +49 / 69 / 71 71 298-0 F +49 / 69 / 71 71 298-10 Dr. Holger Alt, M.L.E. Partner email: halt@boetticher.com

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