In a previous jurisdiction report for Germany (WIPR, March/April 2013) we reported, and criticised, that the German federal administration (before the federal election in September 2013 changed Germany’s political landscape) had planned to change the well established law on the judicial court venue for unfair competition cases.
Shortly before the election, criticism from some of Germany’s legal practitioners ensured that the proposed changes did not become law.
The story began with a draft act against “disreputable business practices” which included a new provision, Section 14(2) of the draft, on the court venue in unfair competition cases. According to that provision, the court in which the incriminated act has been committed was supposed to be the competent venue only if the defendant had no place of business in Germany. So the regular venue was supposed to be the one provided for in Section 14(1), which is the court located in the district in which the defendant had its place of business.
The German federal administration, when it drafted the act, had some cases in mind which might be called ‘excesses’ of a small part of the legal profession. But only a small part of these excesses could be attributed to unfair competition cases, and even that part could not provide a reasonable justification for changing the court venue for all unfair competition cases in Germany—which would have profoundly changed the way in which unfair competition cases are handled.
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Germany, filesharing, competition law