Unfair Competition Law

The German Act against Unfair Competition is a strong tool in the day-to-day struggle against unfair practices. Unfair competition such as misleading advertising or aggressive commercial practices usually relate to companies that compete for the end users of their products.

In comparison to some other national laws in Europe, the German Act against Unfair Competition provides a tableau of instruments to protect against product imitation (independent from design and three-dimensional trademark protection) – with a focus on the fight against deception of origin and exploitation of reputation. An advantage is that German district courts tend to liberally accept territorial jurisdiction if the case shows sufficient ties to the regional market. Here, so-called “forum shopping” has become very prevalent, in particular with infringement cases related to online activities.

German unfair competition law is unique in Europe for its speedy interaction between preliminary injunction, protective brief and opposition proceedings. Every year, hundreds of requests for interlocutory injunctions as well as protective letters – a specific instrument to shield from ex parte injunctions – are lodged by BARDEHLE PAGENBERG with nearly a dozen district courts in Germany. Our clients appreciate the hands-on, fast reaction approach of our attorneys when it comes to effectively protecting their marks and products from unfair practices, be it in comparative advertising, offers on the Internet or classical product imitation.

For many years BARDEHLE PAGENBERG attorneys have been successfully litigating unfair competition matters – frequently leading to groundbreaking decisions for clients such as restaurant chains, consumer health care, fashion and cosmetic industries before all instances throughout Germany, up to the Federal Supreme Court.

For more information on Unfair Competition Law, see our online-series "BARDEHLE PAGENBERG Concise Knowledge".