Tag Archives: Attorney

Politics Law Society

GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte – Report on commercial agents“ right to claim compensation

GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte – Report on commercial agents“ right to claim compensation

GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte - Report on commercial agents" right to claim compensation

Commercial agents are entitled to claim compensation. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has since clarified that this right persists even if the commercial agency agreement is terminated during the probationary period.

Commercial agents are entitled to claim compensation pursuant to paragraph 89b of the Handelsgesetzbuch (HGB), Germany“s Commercial Code, if the commercial agency agreement is terminated. Because the company frequently continues to profit from the contacts established by the commercial agent and maintain business relations with these clients after the agreement has come to an end, the intention behind this entitlement is to enable agents to benefit from these business dealings as well. The right to claim compensation cannot simply be excluded. We at the commercial law firm GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte can equally report, however, that this same right has also given rise to legal disputes time and time again.

There are certainly circumstances under which the right to claim compensation can lapse. This can happen if, for instance, the commercial agent is the one who terminates the agreement or misconduct on his or her part resulted in the agreement being terminated. One factor that does not affect the right to claim compensation, on the other hand, is the duration of the contractual relationship or whether the commercial agent is still on employment probation. That was the verdict of the European Court of Justice in a judgment from April 19, 2018 (Az.: C-645/16).

In the instant case, the commercial agency agreement provided for, among other things, a twelve-month probation period. During this period of time, both parties were entitled to terminate the agreement subject to a specified notice period. After the commercial agent clearly failed to meet the company“s expectations as well as the agreed targets, the latter decided to avail itself of this right of termination. The commercial agent subsequently asserted their right to claim compensation. The company took the view that this right does not arise in the event of the agreement being terminated during the probationary period.

The dispute made it all the way to the ECJ, which ruled in favor of the commercial agent. A commercial agent“s rights to compensation are regulated in an EU regulation. The ECJ held that the rights to compensation and damages provided for under this regulation are meant to indemnify the commercial agent for the services performed by him or her from which the company continues to benefit from or for the costs and expenses he or she incurred. The Court went on to state that this entitlement cannot be dismissed on the basis that the agreement was terminated during the probationary period.

Lawyers who are experienced in the field of commercial law can serve as expert advisors to companies and commercial agents alike.

https://www.grprainer.com/en/legal-advice/commercial-law/commercial-agency-law.html

GRP Rainer www.grprainer.com/en/ is an international full service law firm. The lawyers counsel on corporate and commercial law, business law, tax law, IT law and IP law and distribution law. The law firm advises international companies, corporations, mid-sized businesses and private clients worldwide. GRP Rainer can be found in Berlin Bonn Cologne Duesseldorf Frankfurt Hamburg Munich Stuttgart, Germany and London, UK.

Contact
GRP Rainer LLP
Michael Rainer
Augustinerstraße 10
50667 Cologne
Phone: +49 221-27 22 75-0
Fax: +49 221-27 22 75-24
E-Mail: info@grprainer.com
Url: http://www.grprainer.com/en

Politics Law Society

GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte – Experience dealing with abuses of a dominant market position and violations of antitrust law

GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte – Experience dealing with abuses of a dominant market position and violations of antitrust law

GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte - Experience dealing with abuses of a dominant market position and violations of antitrust law

Abuse of a dominant market position or superior market power constitutes a violation of antitrust law and can be sanctioned accordingly.

In a judgment from January 23, 2018 on the so-called „Anzapfverbot“, i.e. the prohibition on demanding unjustified benefits from suppliers, the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), Germany“s Federal Supreme Court, further tightened the rules regarding abuse of a dominant market position (Az.: KVR 37/17). According to the Karlsruhe judges“ ruling, if the business occupying a dominant market position asks a contractual partner to grant it advantages in the absence of an objective justification for these advantages, this is enough to give rise to a presumption of a violation of antitrust law. We at the commercial law firm GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte note that the judgment illustrates the need for experience when two or more parties are negotiating terms to avoid overstepping the boundaries for violating either competition or antitrust law.

In the instant case, the business in question had gone too far with its demands and abused its dominant market position and superior market power by demanding more favorable terms from its suppliers in the form of discounts and benefits. The BGH deemed this a violation of antitrust law due to the absence of any kind of consideration or objective justification.

Following the BGH“s ruling, suppliers are now better protected in the event of businesses in a dominant market position exerting pressure on them with the intention of more or less forcing them to agree to different terms. While the Court“s decision does not mean that negotiations are no longer permitted as a means of achieving the best possible outcome for one“s company, the ruling does necessitate care and sensitivity as well as an objective justification in order to remain within the confines of the law.

According to the Gesetz gegen Wettbewerbsbeschränkungen (GWB), Germany“s Act Against Restraints of Competition, a business is considered to be in a dominant market position if it has no competitors or holds a paramount market position, with the result that the business is not exposed to any substantial competition. A business is deemed to have abused this kind of market power if it asks its contractual partners to grant it advantages without an objective justification for doing so.

Lawyers who are experienced in the fields of antitrust and competition law can advise businesses and enforce or fend off claims in the event of violations of antitrust or competition law.

https://www.grprainer.com/en/legal-advice/antitrust-law.html

GRP Rainer www.grprainer.com/en/ is an international full service law firm. The lawyers counsel on corporate and commercial law, business law, tax law, IT law and IP law and distribution law. The law firm advises international companies, corporations, mid-sized businesses and private clients worldwide. GRP Rainer can be found in Berlin Bonn Cologne Duesseldorf Frankfurt Hamburg Munich Stuttgart, Germany and London, UK.

Contact
GRP Rainer LLP
Michael Rainer
Augustinerstraße 10
50667 Cologne
Phone: +49 221-27 22 75-0
Fax: +49 221-27 22 75-24
E-Mail: info@grprainer.com
Url: http://www.grprainer.com/en

Politics Law Society

OLG Frankfurt – Misleading advertising by carrying over likes and reviews

OLG Frankfurt – Misleading advertising by carrying over likes and reviews

OLG Frankfurt - Misleading advertising by carrying over likes and reviews

Franchisees need to be careful. If they change their franchise partner, they cannot simply carry over the likes and stars they have accumulated to the new company.

Many businesses nowadays choose to present themselves online, including on social networks. Any positive reviews in the form of likes or stars that they accumulate naturally have a positive advertising effect. Franchisees need to be careful nonetheless. They cannot simply carry over the reviews they have accumulated online to the new company if they change their franchise partner. We at the commercial law firm GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte note that doing so could violate the Gesetz gegen den unlauteren Wettbewerb (UWG), Germany“s Unfair Competition Act, and thus competition law.

In a ruling from June 14, 2018, the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Frankfurt, the Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt, found carrying over online reviews in a case involving a change of company to be misleading and therefore constituted a violation of competition law (Az.: 6 U 23/17).

In the case in question, the defendant was a franchisee running several restaurants as part of a chain. Facebook users were able to review and like the restaurants on the company“s Facebook page. When the defendant changed its franchise partner, it carried over the reviews to the new company and got more than it had bargained for in the form of an injunction suit. The OLG Frankfurt upheld the judgment of the court of lower instance as well as the plaintiff“s injunction suit.

The OLG noted that the parties are and were in practice in a competitive relationship, ruling that the defendant had violated the UWG by publishing reviews and likes on its Facebook pages for the restaurants of its new partner despite these having been written and given in relation to the original partner“s restaurants.

The OLG Frankfurt went on to say that this kind of advertising is misleading to consumers because it gives the target audience the impression that the reviews were written in reference to the restaurants of the new partner, which was not in fact the case. The fact that the defendant personally created the relevant Facebook pages was said not to preclude the finding that the advertising was misleading; the risk of misleading the public could have been easily eliminated by creating a new Facebook page.

Misleading advertising as well as other violations of competition law can be met with sanctions, including formal warnings and injunction suits. Lawyers who are experienced in the field of competition law can advise on enforcing and fending off claims.

https://www.grprainer.com/en/legal-advice/competition-law.html

GRP Rainer www.grprainer.com/en/ is an international full service law firm. The lawyers counsel on corporate and commercial law, business law, tax law, IT law and IP law and distribution law. The law firm advises international companies, corporations, mid-sized businesses and private clients worldwide. GRP Rainer can be found in Berlin Bonn Cologne Duesseldorf Frankfurt Hamburg Munich Stuttgart, Germany and London, UK.

Contact
GRP Rainer LLP
Michael Rainer
Augustinerstraße 10
50667 Cologne
Phone: +49 221-27 22 75-0
Fax: +49 221-27 22 75-24
E-Mail: info@grprainer.com
Url: http://www.grprainer.com/en

Politics Law Society

BFH – Claim for transfer of ownership in family home not exempt from inheritance tax

BFH – Claim for transfer of ownership in family home not exempt from inheritance tax

BFH - Claim for transfer of ownership in family home not exempt from inheritance tax

A ruling of the Bundesfinanzhof (BFH), Germany“s Federal Fiscal Court, illustrates the distinction made for the purposes of inheritance tax between a family home and the claim to transfer ownership in a family home (Az.: II R 14/16).

A family home can be inherited tax free, irrespective of its value, if the inheriting spouse or partner continues to occupy the home for an additional ten years. Children can also benefit from this exemption from inheritance, albeit with restrictions. However, there lurks a trap in German tax law if it is merely the right to transfer ownership in a family home and not the family home itself that is handed down. We at the commercial law firm GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte note that under these circumstances the case law of the BFH confers no right to exemption from inheritance tax.

In a judgment from November 29, 2017, the Bundesfinanzhof ruled that a claim backed by a priority notice of conveyance to transfer ownership in a family home acquired by the surviving spouse by virtue of the deceased“s passing is not exempt from inheritance tax. It held that tax exemption requires that the deceased spouse have been owner or co-owner of the family home and that the heir acquires these ownership rights due to the former“s death.

This did not happen in the instant case. The testatrix had acquired a condominium and four underground parking spaces for about 4.5 million euros in 2007. A priority notice of conveyance was registered in the land register in her favor. In December of 2008, the married couple moved into the property. The testatrix had set out in a will that the condominium was to go to her husband alone and that the remaining assets were to be distributed according to the rules of intestate succession. At the time of her death, the testatrix had not yet been registered in the land register as the owner of the property.

After the death of his wife, the husband had himself registered in the land register as the owner in February of 2010 and continued without interruption to use the property as a private residence. In his inheritance tax declaration, he applied for an exemption from inheritance tax for the acquisition of the house. The tax office rejected the application and the man“s legal action was also unsuccessful. The BFH stressed that a claim backed by a priority notice of conveyance to transfer ownership in a family home acquired by reason of death is not exempt from inheritance tax.

Lawyers who are experienced in the field of tax law can advise on matters pertaining to inheritance tax.

https://www.grprainer.com/en/legal-advice/tax-law/inheritance-tax.html

GRP Rainer www.grprainer.com/en/ is an international full service law firm. The lawyers counsel on corporate and commercial law, business law, tax law, IT law and IP law and distribution law. The law firm advises international companies, corporations, mid-sized businesses and private clients worldwide. GRP Rainer can be found in Berlin Bonn Cologne Duesseldorf Frankfurt Hamburg Munich Stuttgart, Germany and London, UK.

Contact
GRP Rainer LLP
Michael Rainer
Augustinerstraße 10
50667 Cologne
Phone: +49 221-27 22 75-0
Fax: +49 221-27 22 75-24
E-Mail: info@grprainer.com
Url: http://www.grprainer.com/en

Politics Law Society

Purchasing cooperatives and antitrust law

Purchasing cooperatives and antitrust law

Purchasing cooperatives and antitrust law

Purchasing cooperatives provide value to many retailers and traders. However, with these kinds of associations it is necessary to ensure that they do not violate antitrust or competition law.

Purchasing cooperatives can be particularly beneficial for small and medium-sized merchants looking to strengthen their position in the market. While purchasing cooperatives of this kind are allowed under EU law, their market share cannot be too large. We at the commercial law firm GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte note that a market share of around 15 percent serves as a benchmark here.

It is in view of this that the Bundeskartellamt, Germany“s Federal Cartel Office, has initiated administrative proceedings against a purchasing cooperative for furniture. The cooperative already counts several commercial enterprises as its members, with another group wishing to join in the coming year. The Bundeskartellamt is now assessing whether there are concerns pertaining to competition law that preclude the group being admitted.

Antitrust law does not, as a general rule, preclude purchasing cooperatives of this kind, as these associations enable small and medium-sized businesses to maintain and strengthen their position in the market and, of course, also provide consumers with goods on more favorable terms. But there are limits: these kinds of cooperatives can put pressure on manufacturers. If their influence on the market becomes too great, this can have negative consequences. Manufacturers that cannot meet the negotiated terms could be pushed out of the market, reducing supply and ultimately subjecting consumers to rising prices.

That is why EU antitrust legislation provides that these kinds of purchasing cooperatives should not obtain a market share greater than approx. 15 percent. The Bundeskartellamt will now examine the purchasing cooperatives in the furniture sector from a number of different angles to determine whether there are concerns pertaining to antitrust law that preclude the association“s expansion.

Violations of antirust or competition law can be met with severe penalties, including formal written warnings, injunction suits and damages claims. Yet violations are by no means always obvious; even individual clauses within contracts can violate provisions of antitrust law. Lawyers who are experienced in the fields of antitrust and competition law can offer advice.

https://www.grprainer.com/en/legal-advice/antitrust-law.html

GRP Rainer www.grprainer.com/en/ is an international full service law firm. The lawyers counsel on corporate and commercial law, business law, tax law, IT law and IP law and distribution law. The law firm advises international companies, corporations, mid-sized businesses and private clients worldwide. GRP Rainer can be found in Berlin Bonn Cologne Duesseldorf Frankfurt Hamburg Munich Stuttgart, Germany and London, UK.

Contact
GRP Rainer LLP
Michael Rainer
Augustinerstraße 10
50667 Cologne
Phone: +49 221-27 22 75-0
Fax: +49 221-27 22 75-24
E-Mail: info@grprainer.com
Url: http://www.grprainer.com/en

Politics Law Society

Possibility of formal warnings in response to violations of the GDPR

Possibility of formal warnings in response to violations of the GDPR

Possibility of formal warnings in response to violations of the GDPR

Whether a violation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) constitutes a violation of competition law and can therefore, as a matter of law, give rise to a formal written warning is still disputed.

Many were concerned that the General Data Protection Regulation, GDPR for short, entering into force would herald a veritable wave of written warnings in response to violations of the Regulation. These concerns have so far proven unfounded. We at the commercial law firm GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte note that one probable reason for this is the sheer lack of consistency in the case law to date on whether a violation of the GDPR constitutes a violation of competition law and can thus lead to a formal written warning.

The courts have thus far delivered different rulings on the matter. The Landgericht Würzburg, the Regional Court of Würzburg, found in one case involving a violation of the GDPR that it represented a violation of Germany“s Unfair Competition Act, the Gesetz gegen den unlauteren Wettbewerb (UWG). It held that competitors could issue a formal written warning as a result of the violation of competition law or sue for an injunction or damages (Az.: 11 O 174/18 UWG).

The Landgericht Bochum, the Regional Court of Bochum, reached a different conclusion. It ruled in a judgment from August 7, 2018 that violations of the GDPR do not constitute violations of competition law and competitors are therefore not allowed to issue formal warnings in response to them (Az.: I-12 O 95/18). In the case in question, an online merchant had been issued with a formal warning as well as an injunction suit by a rival business for violating the GDPR. The LG Bochum dismissed the claim, ruling that the provisions in articles 77 to 84 of the Regulation dealing with claims brought by competitors are exhaustive. Accordingly, only certain institutions and organizations that are not intent on making a profit are entitled to safeguard the interests of those affected. The Court therefore concluded that the legislature wanted to avoid the possibility of competitors being issued with formal written warnings for violations of the GDPR.

The different interpretations in the case in the law suggest that the GDPR will continue to occupy the courts for some time yet. To avoid legal disputes, businesses and traders ought to assess whether they are complying with data protection requirements. Violations can potentially lead not only to formal warnings from competitors but also heavy fines imposed by supervisory authorities. Lawyers who are experienced in the field competition law can offer advice.

https://www.grprainer.com/en/legal-advice/competition-law.html

GRP Rainer www.grprainer.com/en/ is an international full service law firm. The lawyers counsel on corporate and commercial law, business law, tax law, IT law and IP law and distribution law. The law firm advises international companies, corporations, mid-sized businesses and private clients worldwide. GRP Rainer can be found in Berlin Bonn Cologne Duesseldorf Frankfurt Hamburg Munich Stuttgart, Germany and London, UK.

Contact
GRP Rainer LLP
Michael Rainer
Augustinerstraße 10
50667 Cologne
Phone: +49 221-27 22 75-0
Fax: +49 221-27 22 75-24
E-Mail: info@grprainer.com
Url: http://www.grprainer.com/en

Politics Law Society

BGH – Champagne must define the taste of a champagne sorbet

BGH – Champagne must define the taste of a champagne sorbet

BGH - Champagne must define the taste of a champagne sorbet

A champagne sorbet needs to actually taste like champagne; otherwise, this description cannot be used. That was the verdict of the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), Germany“s Federal Supreme Court, in a ruling from July 19, 2018 (Az.: I ZR 268/14).

Not unlike in the case of brands, it is also possible to protect designations of origin on the grounds that consumers may associate geographical indications of origin with a certain quality. We at the commercial law firm GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte note that a protected designation of origin is considered to have been unlawfully exploited if its reputation is exploited.

The legal dispute between a discount supermarket selling ice cream featuring the description „Champagner Sorbet“ (German for „champagne sorbet“) and an association of wine growers from the Champagne region has occupied the courts for years. The wine growers viewed the description as a violation of the designation of origin „Champagne“.

The Bundesgerichtshof referred the case to the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The ECJ held that the reputation of a protected designation of origin is considered to have been unlawfully exploited if the intent behind using the designation is to profit from its reputation without permission. The Court noted that this could be the case with „Champagner Sorbet“, since consumers associate this with a certain level of quality and price category. The ECJ went on to state, however, that if the product“s taste comes primarily from the champagne used in its making then there are no grounds for objecting to the use of the description „Champagner Sorbet“.

The BGH has since ruled that the designation of origin „Champagne“ is deemed to have been unfairly exploited if in spite of the product containing champagne this does not define its taste. Furthermore, the champagne in the product can be said not to define its taste if despite tasting like a wine-based product the taste comes primarily from other ingredients and not the champagne.

The Court also held that if the taste of a food product referred to as „Champagner Sorbet“ cannot be attributed to champagne as an ingredient, this is deemed to be misleading to consumers. The use of the term „Champagner“ was said to be a strong indication to consumers that the product tastes like champagne and that the latter“s use as an ingredient is what defines the taste. The Oberlandesgericht München, the Higher Regional Court of Munich, must now determine what property defines the relevant product“s taste.

Violations of trademark or copyright law can be met with severe penalties. Lawyers who are experienced in the field of IP law can advise businesses on enforcing or fending off claims.

https://www.grprainer.com/en/legal-advice/ip-law/trademark-law.html

GRP Rainer www.grprainer.com/en/ is an international full service law firm. The lawyers counsel on corporate and commercial law, business law, tax law, IT law and IP law and distribution law. The law firm advises international companies, corporations, mid-sized businesses and private clients worldwide. GRP Rainer can be found in Berlin Bonn Cologne Duesseldorf Frankfurt Hamburg Munich Stuttgart, Germany and London, UK.

Contact
GRP Rainer LLP
Michael Rainer
Augustinerstraße 10
50667 Cologne
Phone: +49 221-27 22 75-0
Fax: +49 221-27 22 75-24
E-Mail: info@grprainer.com
Url: http://www.grprainer.com/en

Politics Law Society

German Finance Ministry confirms simplification of input tax deduction from invoices

German Finance Ministry confirms simplification of input tax deduction from invoices

German Finance Ministry confirms simplification of input tax deduction from invoices

Following the decision of the Bundesfinanzhof (BFH) to simplify the deduction of input VAT from invoices, the Federal Ministry of Finance (BMF) confirmed in a circular dated 7 Dec 2018 that it will be applying this case law.

In judgments from 21 June 2018, the BFH ruled that it is enough for an invoice to include the invoicing party“s postal address and not necessary to specify the premises where it carries out its commercial activities over and above this (Az.: V R 25/15, V R 28/16). We at GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte note that in doing so the BFH has simplified the deduction of input VAT for businesses.

Accordingly, to be entitled to deduct input VAT from an invoice, it is enough for the invoice to include an address at which the invoicing party can be contacted. The BMF subsequently released a circular on 7 Dec 2018 amending the UStAE, a directive on the application of VAT (III C 2 – S 7280-a/07/10005 :003). It now states that any address is sufficient so long as the business providing the service or the beneficiary can be contacted there. Whether the business carries out its commercial activities at the address specified on the invoice is irrelevant. PO box, wholesale customer and c/o addresses all satisfy the requirements.

Lawyers who are versed in the field of tax law can advise on tax disputes with the tax authorities.

https://www.grprainer.com/en/legal-advice/tax-law/tax-dispute.html

GRP Rainer www.grprainer.com/en/ is an international full service law firm. The lawyers counsel on corporate and commercial law, business law, tax law, IT law and IP law and distribution law. The law firm advises international companies, corporations, mid-sized businesses and private clients worldwide. GRP Rainer can be found in Berlin Bonn Cologne Duesseldorf Frankfurt Hamburg Munich Stuttgart, Germany and London, UK.

Contact
GRP Rainer LLP
Michael Rainer
Augustinerstraße 10
50667 Cologne
Phone: +49 221-27 22 75-0
Fax: +49 221-27 22 75-24
E-Mail: info@grprainer.com
Url: http://www.grprainer.com/en

Politics Law Society

European Commission fines electronics manufacturers for e-commerce price manipulation

European Commission fines electronics manufacturers for e-commerce price manipulation

European Commission fines electronics manufacturers for e-commerce price manipulation

The European Commission has imposed fines in separate rulings on four electronics manufacturers totaling 111 million euros in response to violations of EU competition law.

On 24 July 2018, the European Commission announced that four electronics manufacturers had been fined for dictating fixed and minimum prices to their online retailers for selling products and thus breaching EU competition law.

The four electronics manufacturers implemented vertical price restrictions in the form of fixed or minimum price guidelines by restricting their online merchants“ scope to set retail prices themselves for common electrical products such as laptops, hi-fi systems and kitchen appliances. If online retailers sold the products at lower prices, the manufacturers got involved, threatening, for instance, to stop delivering supplies. Because a lot of online merchants make use of price algorithms to adjust their prices in relation to the prices set by their competitors, the restrictions affect the price of the entire segment of the respective product. The European Commission went on to note that the manufacturers had access to instruments allowing them to monitor resale pricing in their sales network and quickly intervene in the event of price drops.

These measures were said to have hampered effective price competition between the retailers, and this, in turn, led to higher prices and thus had a direct impact on consumers. As a result, the electronics manufacturers had violated EU antitrust law and were reprimanded and fined by the Commission. The fines were reduced in light of all the companies cooperating with the Commission.

Retailers and consumers affected by the manufacturers“ anti-competitive conduct are now able to assert claims for damages. We at the commercial law firm GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte note that because of the Commission“s rulings it is no longer necessary to demonstrate that the manufacturers acted unlawfully.

As e-commerce continues to grow in importance, competition watchdogs and cartel offices will be paying closer attention. Illegal pricing arrangements hamper fair competition and may be met with severe penalties. That being said, violations of antitrust law are by no means so obvious in every other case; even individual contractual clauses can infringe existing laws. That is why agreements ought to be reviewed with a view to their implications from the perspective of competition law by lawyers who are versed in the fields of antitrust law and competition law.

https://www.grprainer.com/en/legal-advice/antitrust-law.html

GRP Rainer www.grprainer.com/en/ is an international full service law firm. The lawyers counsel on corporate and commercial law, business law, tax law, IT law and IP law and distribution law. The law firm advises international companies, corporations, mid-sized businesses and private clients worldwide. GRP Rainer can be found in Berlin Bonn Cologne Duesseldorf Frankfurt Hamburg Munich Stuttgart, Germany and London, UK.

Contact
GRP Rainer LLP
Michael Rainer
Augustinerstraße 10
50667 Cologne
Phone: +49 221-27 22 75-0
Fax: +49 221-27 22 75-24
E-Mail: info@grprainer.com
Url: http://www.grprainer.com/en

Politics Law Society

Legality of advertising with statements on the effects of medical treatments

Legality of advertising with statements on the effects of medical treatments

Legality of advertising with statements on the effects of medical treatments

Advertisements featuring statements on the effects of medical treatments are only permissible if they are supported by sound scientific evidence. This was reaffirmed by the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Frankfurt, the Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt.

Advertisements featuring health claims are subject to stringent requirements regarding the accuracy and ambiguity of the relevant statements. This is because misleading health claims can pose a significant risk to patients. We at the commercial law firm GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte note that for this reason statements on the effects of a medical treatment are generally only permissible if they are based on sound scientific evidence.

In a judgment from 21 June 2018, the Oberlandesgericht Frankfurt reaffirmed that advertisements featuring statements on the effects of medical treatments are permitted as long as there is no indication that the statement on their effects is contentious or that it lacks any scientific basis. The Court went on to say that if the advertising statement is contentious, the party responsible for the advertising needs to demonstrate that the statement is accurate and the scientific basis for the promised effects must already be documented at the time of the advertisement“s release (Az.: 6 U 74/17).

In the instant case, a doctor had promoted various treatment methods from the field of osteopathy on his homepage, including treatment procedures associated with craniosacral osteopathy. An association of commercial enterprises brought an action for an injunction against this. It viewed the treatment methods in question as belonging to the field of alternative medical treatments lacking scientific proof of their efficacy.

The action was partially successful. The OLG Frankfurt held that the doctor could continue to advertise with the statements on the efficacy of the general and infant osteopathic treatment methods. The Court stated that in this regard the plaintiff had failed to sufficiently make the case that the methods being promoted were not reliable as a whole and for the advertised indications. However, it took a different view with respect to the statements on craniosacral osteopathy, stating that the plaintiff had demonstrated that there was no sound scientific basis to support the effectiveness of the treatment methods in question. The OLG went on to note that study findings are only deemed to be sound if based on double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trials.

Misleading advertising or violations of competition law can quickly lead to formal warnings, damages claims or injunction suits. Lawyers who are experienced in the field of competition law can serve as competent advisors.

https://www.grprainer.com/en/legal-advice/competition-law.html

GRP Rainer www.grprainer.com/en/ is an international full service law firm. The lawyers counsel on corporate and commercial law, business law, tax law, IT law and IP law and distribution law. The law firm advises international companies, corporations, mid-sized businesses and private clients worldwide. GRP Rainer can be found in Berlin Bonn Cologne Duesseldorf Frankfurt Hamburg Munich Stuttgart, Germany and London, UK.

Contact
GRP Rainer LLP
Michael Rainer
Augustinerstraße 10
50667 Cologne
Phone: +49 221-27 22 75-0
Fax: +49 221-27 22 75-24
E-Mail: info@grprainer.com
Url: http://www.grprainer.com/en