Combatting unfair practices:
our contribution to a fairer marketplace.

Unfair Competition

Unfair competition law is ultimately judge-made law. Owing to harmonization efforts within the EU, it is subject to constant changes. Our extensive experience in this area means that we are familiar with the current case law and the respective competent courts throughout Germany. 

We deal with all types of unfair competition cases. This includes cases of misleading advertisement and unfair imitation of products, as well as cases relating to competition-relevant regulations such as those comprised in the drug law, the pharmaceutical-advertising law and the law on human and animal feed. Our clients benefit from the unique scientific and technical understanding that rospatt lawyers bring to their practice of patent law. Giving advice on advertising often requires excellent knowledge of trademark law, as well. We have a particular focus on unfair competition disputes involving telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, electronics, interior fittings and luxury goods. 

Related Cases

  • ARAL v MediaTex (sweepstake advertisement)
  • Bayer Vital v Roche Consumer Health
  • Bosch-Rexroth v THK (test bench configuration)
  • Etex (Promat) v miscellaneous competitors (advertisements for fire protection products)
  • Ferrari v misc. (misleading advertisement, misappropriation of reputation)
  • Greifzug v dual lift (imitation of winches)
  • Hansgrohe v Reuter (manufacturer ratings)
  • Reuter v Duravit, Grohe and Zehnder (AdWord advertisements)
  • Samsung Electronics v Dyson (advertising claims)
  • Takeda v Berlin-Chemie (pharma advertisement)

Related Landmark Decisions

Umweltengel für Tragetasche (Blue Angel for plastic bag) – BGH 2014 GRUR 578
The I. senate commented on open questions regarding the burden of demonstration and proof in cases of misleading advertising statements. If one party can present only circumstantial evidence, it must demonstrate and provide evidence not only for the existence of the circumstances at issue, but also for the presumptive effect of the circumstances. If the production site of one of the parties is to be inspected in the course of collecting evidence, the confidentiality interests of this party are sufficiently preserved if the other party is represented by a publicly appointed but non-inaugurated expert who has been sworn to client confidentiality by the court.

Umsatzsteuererstattungs-Modell (VAT Reimbursement Model) – BGH 2006 GRUR 511
With this ruling, the Federal Supreme Court continued the moves to relax the requirements under unfair competition law in connection with advertising articles. In future, it will only be assumed that enticements are excessive for the purposes of competition law, provided that the benefit offered by the advertiser is likely to exert such a powerful influence on the consumer that it impairs the latter’s free will in decision-making. In addition, the Supreme Court drew a clear distinction between loan transactions under banking law, for which a permit is required, and the concept of credit according to other provisions.

Metro IIII, VBGH 1978 GRUR 173 = 1978 IIC 250; 1979 GRUR 411 = 1980 IIC 103; 1990 GRUR 617; 2001 GRUR 846
With these decisions, Germany‘s Federal Supreme Court established the permissible limits on wholesalers selling goods for private consumption, and indicated the organizational steps they must take to prevent such purchases.