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19 October 2018

Facebook’s WHOIS access woes, DPMA’s IP workshop for refugees, and Santa-Cruz leaves INAPI: news round-up

In our latest round-up, we look at the Croatian president talking up nation branding, Gucci voicing “reluctance” to work with Alibaba and, brand owners readying themselves for motion marks, and much more.

18 October 2017

German Federal Court rules on Google’s Image Search

The Federal Court of Justice has handed down a judgment of utmost importance for the exploitation of copyright on the Internet. The decision, which will become known and referred to under the name Thumbnail III, examined whether the display of preview images in search results constituted an act of making available a copyright work in the sense of the copyright law.

01 March 2017

Germany: Fight for your (domain name) rights

As more and more companies use the Internet to sell goods and services, it is crucial to register the right domain name and then to protect it effectively

12 April 2016

Trademark application filed for 'The Panama Papers'; applicant reveals ambitious plans

A Munich-based marketer has applied for a trademark in Germany for the term ‘The Panama Papers’, with plans to write a movie and sell merchandise related to the unprecedented leak of 11.5 million files from the database of law firm Mossack Fonseca. An IP expert tells us that if the application progresses to the opposition stage, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists will need to rely on unregistered rights if it seeks to prevent its registration by a third party.

12 February 2015

Alibaba and the 40 reasons to sue

The Internet is the promised land for shoppers who do not care about quality or authenticity. It provides endless opportunities for those who merely want to see a certain brand printed on a product. This is a nightmare for brand owners. To tackle the problem effectively, they must go after the platform itself, not just the traders.

04 April 2014

Federal Supreme Court follows Interflora in keyword case

The Federal Supreme Court has considered once again the issue of whether the purchasers of keywords via Google’s AdWords programme can be held liable for trademark infringement. The court issued a decision which appears to be a change in jurisprudence - but only at first sight.

01 March 2013

Supreme Court confirms case law on keyword advertising

In MOST-Pralinen, the German Supreme Court has overruled a decision of the Braunschweig Court of Appeals and, in doing so, confirmed its case law on keyword advertising. The court held that the function of a trademark as an indication of origin is not affected if the advertisement is clearly separated from the search results and does not include the mark itself or a reference to the trademark owner.

29 March 2012

Domain name owner’s administrative contact person may be liable for infringement

In Basler Haarkosmetik v Basler Hair Cosmetics, the German Federal Supreme Court has held that the administrative contact person of a domain name proprietor may be liable, in certain circumstances, for the infringement of third-party rights occurring through domain name registrations.

23 September 2011

Use of trademark as keyword allowed - under certain conditions

In the long-awaited Bananabay decision, the German Federal Supreme Court has held that use of a trademark as an AdWord is not prohibited under the German Trademark Act as long as certain conditions are met. One of the conditions is that the advertisement generated by the AdWord search must be clearly designated as an advertisement and separated from the natural search results.

31 May 2011

Action for negative declaratory judgment rejected in domain name dispute

The Berlin District Court has rejected an action for a negative declaratory judgment brought by the holder of a ‘.com’ domain name against the defendant, who had obtained a favourable decision under the UDRP. Among other things, the court held that, even if a claim for transfer existed under German case law, this was not relevant to the issue of whether a claim for transfer existed under the UDRP.

18 January 2010

One and two-character domain names become available

DENIC, the German domain name registry, has removed many of the restrictions applicable to the registration of second-level domain names under '.de'. DENIC decided to allow the registration of one and two-character domain names following a 2008 court decision. The launch was criticized because certain large registrars were able to play the system.

28 October 2009

German ccTLD allocation procedure may increase threat from cybersquatters

Denic has relaxed existing restrictions on ‘.de’ country-code top-level domain registrations but the lack of a sunrise period has put brand owners at increased risk from trademark infringement.

27 October 2009

Restrictions on online sales may be lawful, says court

The Munich Appeal Court has ruled that brand owners may prohibit distributors from selling trademarked goods on online auction platforms. Among other things, the court concluded that such limitation was exempted from the general prohibition of restriction of competition under the EU Block Exemption Regulation.

08 September 2009

New type of liability established for users of auction sites

The German Federal Supreme Court has held that the owner of an eBay account was liable for infringement resulting from the misuse of the account, even though the infringing offer had been placed online without the account holder's knowledge. The court stated that the defendant had an obligation to keep the access information safe.

05 December 2008

Liability of online auction providers confirmed by Supreme Court

The German Federal Supreme Court has held that eBay was liable as ‘disturber’ for infringement of the claimant’s rights in his name on the online auction platform. Importantly, the court stated that eBay bore the burden of proving whether it was technically possible to prevent further violations once it had been notified of the infringement.