Protection against unfair competition: Attorneys for the protection of your company’s good reputation (Competition Protection Law)
The Act against Unfair Competition (Gesetz gegen den unlauteren Wettbewerb, UWG) protects the good reputation of companies and entrepreneurs against unfair competition in the market. According to § 4 No. 1 UWG and § 4 No. 2 UWG, acts of unfair competition include:
- disparaging the trademarks, goods, services, activities, or personal/business circumstances of a competitor; or
- if they allege or disseminate facts about the goods, services, or business of a competitor / about the entrepreneur / a member of the company’s management that are likely to damage the company’s operations or the entrepreneur’s credit, unless the facts are demonstrably true.
If a competitor makes factual claims about your company, your competitor has the full burden of presentation and proof that these factual claims are true. If anything remains unclear for the court, you will win against your competitor in court. The court will then issue an injunction in your favor. Furthermore, your competitor must compensate you for the damage you have suffered as a result of the disputed factual allegations.
However, if your competitor makes purely judgmental statements against your company, any instance of defamation and disparagement to your detriment is sufficient. You are then also entitled to claims for injunctive relief and damages under competition law against your competitor. In case of doubt, your competitor should simply refrain from commenting on your company at all. Legislators and the courts want competitors to be more vocal with each other in the marketplace. Disparaging remarks about a competitor must be refrained from.
Protection against company reputational damage by others (e.g. negative customer reviews, negative press coverage)
If people other than your competitors make untrue or derogatory statements about your company, you are protected at least by provisions of the German Civil Code (BGB). Untrue statements of fact about your company generally constitute a credit risk (§ 824 of the German Civil Code) and interference with the established and exercised business operations (§ 823 (1) of the German Civil Code) of your company. In individual cases, you can also prevent other statements about you and your company that cause reputational damage. Our lawyers will examine for you in detail what prospects of success your company has against negative press coverage and, for example, whether you can successfully take action against negative reviews by customers on the Internet.
Protection of your corporate personality rights in Summary Proceedings (Preliminary Injunctions)
As a rule, you should enforce your company’s injunctive relief with urgency. This is because it takes on average 9 to 15 months per instance to enforce the law in normal legal proceedings. By applying for an injunction, you can enforce a provisional (interim) settlement of your injunction claim against the infringer before the competent district court. Courts regularly issue preliminary injunctions within a few days. Attorney-at-law Dr. Christian Seyfert, LL.M. will examine the facts of your case in detail and discuss with you the prospects of success of your case in the preliminary injunction proceedings. Additionally, he will also work with you towards a final resolution of the dispute with your competitor or other litigation opponents.
Defense against unjustified claims against your company
If a competing company makes an inaccurate claim against you that you are behaving unfairly in competition, it may be advisable in individual cases to take action against the competitor with the help of a so-called negative declaratory action. In such cases, it is important to act strategically against the legal attacks against your company by your competitors. In this respect, Atty. Dr. Christian Seyfert, LL.M., will discuss your case with you in detail.