On 12 January 2017, the German Federal Court of Justice has handed down its second landmark decision on cheat software within three months. After clarifying the question under which conditions cheat software may constitute copyright infringement in October last year, the Federal Court of Justice has now decided that cheat software can constitute an act of unfair competition, too.

To be able to play online games, e.g. World of Warcraft (WoW) or Diablo III , it is necessary to download a client software and install it on the computer. Achieving progress within the game regularly takes several hours. To save time and to easily achieve the goals of the game some companies develop software, so-called cheat- or buddy-bots, allowing the player to overcome the challenges of the game automatically. Online game developers are not pleased by this fact, which is why they try to prevent the distribution of such cheat bots up front. Continue Reading German Federal Court of Justice Shows the Red Card to Cheat Software for Online Role-Playing Games

The former governing mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit, a member of the German Social Democratic Party, SPD, has suffered a legal defeat in his year-plus battle with the German publishing house Axel Springer. On 27 September 2016 (VI ZR 310/14), the German Federal Court of Justice ruled that pictures of Wowereit in a Berlin bar on the eve of a vote of no confidence against him could be published in Springer’s daily magazine BILD without the former mayor’s consent. Continue Reading Former Mayor of Berlin Suffers Painful Defeat Over the Publication of Alleged Partying Pictures in German Magazine

On 13 October 2015, the German Federal Court of Justice (VI ZR 271/14) ruled that ex-lovers can demand the deletion of intimate or revealing photographs and videos once a relationship is over. In the case concerned, a man, a professional photographer, had taken several erotic photos and videos of his female partner, to which she had consented at the time. The pictures and videos showed the woman naked both during and after sexual intercourse. She had also taken some of the pictures herself. After their relationship ended, the woman demanded that all of the intimate media be deleted, but the man refused to do so. Continue Reading Ex-Lovers Must Delete Intimate Photos of Partners After a Break-Up According to the German Federal Court of Justice

On 5 November 2015, the German Federal Court of Justice ruled that a copyright holder’s right to distribute its work to the public (Section 17 para. 1 of the German Copyright Act) includes the right to offer the original, or a copy, of a protected work to the public for sale. Thus, any unauthorized advertisement of the original or a copy of that work constitutes copyright infringement. Continue Reading Copyright Holder’s Exclusive Right to Distribute Work Includes Right to Advertise the Original or any Copy of that Work

On 21 October 2015, the German Federal Court of Justice ruled that a bank cannot refuse to disclose personal data of a client if that client’s bank account was used to receive payments ‎for the sale of counterfeit trademark goods. In this case, the fundamental right of the trademark holder to protect its intellectual property prevailed over the banks’s right to secrecy. Continue Reading Banks Must Disclose Personal Data if a Bank Account Was Used for IP-Infringing Activities

On 5 March 2015, the German Federal Court of Justice (I ZR 161/13) issued a ruling that two wordmarks that consist of the same three letters, albeit in a different order (here: IPS and ISP), might lead to confusion as to the origin of goods and services sold under these marks. In particular, the Court noted that the pronunciation of the individual letters in their given order had the same sequence of vowels (here: i-e-e, German pronunciation). Thus, the Court found there to be a likelihood of confusion between the two wordmarks that were both used for IT services. Continue Reading Likelihood of Confusion in the Case of Wordmarks that Use Identical Letters, Albeit in a Different Order – IPS/ISP

Taking pictures of food and sharing them online through social media has become a new cultural phenomenon. The trend has become so popular that entire blogs and YouTube channels are now devoted to food photography. A recently published article in the German Daily Newspaper Die Welt has, however, spawned some debate whether taking a picture of an elaborately arranged dish and posting it online might be illegal in the sense that it infringes copyright. According to a lawyer cited in that article, food arrangements are, in principle, copyrightble. If this was in fact the case, posting food images to social media without permission could constitute an unauthorized derivative use of a copyrighted work. Continue Reading Food Plating and Copyright – Can Instagramming Your Meal Be Construed as Copyright Infringement?

In Germany, questions of patent infringement and validity are (somewhat controversially) tried separately in different courts. While the Federal Patent Court has exclusive jurisdiction over actions for nullity (section 81(4) of the Patent Act) with a possible appeal to the Federal Court of Justice, infringement proceedings are dealt with by the civil divisions of Continue Reading Patent Claims Must Be Reviewed Independently by Infringement and Nullity Courts According to the German Federal Court of Justice

Two recent judicial decisions in Germany have the potential to limit the scope of protection conferred by color trademark registrations. Since color marks lack inherent distinctiveness and are, therefore, not per se registerable, the issue, in both proceedings, turned on whether the applicant had submitted actual evidence of acquired distinctiveness. Continue Reading German Courts Decide on the Validity of Color Trademarks (and on the Evaluation of Survey Evidence)

Der BGH hat mit Urteil vom 9. Juli 2015 (I ZR 46/12 – Die Realität II) entschieden, dass die Verlinkung eines auf einer Online-Videoplattform verfügbaren Werkes unter Verwendung der sog. Framing-Technik grundsätzlich keine Urheberrechtsverletzung darstellt – jedenfalls dann nicht, wenn die urheberrechtlich geschützten Inhalte
mit Zustimmung des Rechteinhabers auf der Videoplattform eingestellt wurden. Continue Reading Die Einbindung von fremden Inhalten mittels „Framing“ kann Urheberrechte verletzen