Intellectual Property Rights & Copyright
Intellectual property rights are a major focus of our business activities.
The term ‘intellectual property rights’ refers to various areas of the law. For example, it includes competition law – the protection against unfair acts of competition – and laws for protecting intellectual achievements such as trademark law or the law governing the protection of designs (formerly known as design patent).
We advise our clients mainly in the areas of competition law, brand and trademark law, and copyright law. Within these areas, we are also active in cases of cross-border infringements of rights – specifically in the field of online trading by suppliers not based in Germany.
1. Competition law serves to protect competitors and consumers from unfair business practices. Competition law must always be observed when goods or services are promoted outside the purely private sphere. We have been advising our clients for many years in relation to the design of their own sales and advertising measures and in relation to the legal assessment of the advertising of our clients’ competitors. We represent the rights of our clients comprehensively, from the pre-litigation warning notice and subsequent legal proceedings to the pursuit of infringements of judicial injunctions or infringements of contractually agreed obligations.
2. Brand and trademark law serves, among other things, to protect brand names and trademarks. Novel 2D and 3D designs of products or parts thereof are protected by design protection law.
There are many factors that need to be observed when choosing a brand name or trademark. For example, it needs to be clarified whether a concept or a graphic design is to be protected, for which goods and/or services protection is sought, in which geographical area the logo is to be protected, and whether the logo in question infringes other rights. A range of questions also arises in relation to design protection, such as whether the design is novel or whether it should be registered at all.
We are happy to assist you with all of these questions. Alongside our advisory role, we also represent you when registering your trademarks and designs with national and international agencies and oversee your trademarks and designs. Furthermore, we also represent you comprehensively in the event of a legal dispute – both before and during proceedings.
3. Copyright law protects, among other things, the “works” of language, music, architecture, photography and film. This protection is also afforded to works with a low level of originality such as simple images.
In the area of copyright law, among other things, we oversee the transfer or granting of exploitation rights and rights of use by, and to, third parties through appropriate contracts. Just as is the case for matters relating to trademark law, points to be clarified in this context include the extent to which the rights are to be granted/acquired, as well as for which media (internet or “offline”), time period and geographical area they are to be granted/acquired. If necessary, this includes an examination of the international legal situation. In this context, we are involved in an advisory capacity and in contract drafting, and we represent the interests of our clients in legal proceedings.