Tue, Nov. 17, 2009

A New IP in German Law?

CK - Washington.   Germany is approaching the statutory creation of a new intellectual property right, known in German as Leistungsschutzrecht.

The term combines several German words, encompasses elements of legal protection for accomplishments, services and products and is intended primarily to afford print media more control over digital reproduction, principally with respect to links and excerpts on the internet.

Some fear that authors for digital media as well as search engines would be cramped. Presently, no bill exists. Heise Online, the internet news service of a traditional publisher and a valiant defender of internet freedoms, summarizes the current state of the debate on November 17, 2009.

The new federal government in Berlin anticipates introducing such a statute. A major law journal, Kommunikation & Recht is expected to present in its December 2009 issue contrasting perspectives.




Language Does not Imply German Jurisdiction

.   Just because a website uses the German language, German courts may not necessarily exercize jurisdiction over a site based outside of Germany and not directing its business at customers in Germany, the Munich court of appeals ruled on October 10, 2009 in the matter 29 U 2636/09.

The decision is unavailable on the court's website--only the building is free of barriers, the site proclaims--but has been discussed on the Online & Recht site and the Rechts-News Archiv site on November 17, 2009.

According to these second-hand reports, the case involves a Swiss web site that a German party sued in Germany for trademark infringement. The court determined that the effects of the infringement may point to German jurisdiction. But it required also a nexus of the internet presentation with German consumers whom the infringement would confuse.

The Swiss site used the German language for its German-language customers and offered its wares only in Swiss currency. The language-nexus only is unsufficient for jurisdictional purposes, the court determined.



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