Court cases and other legal proceedings in 2019 (short review of the year)

by RA Dr. Christian Seyfert, LL.M. (San Francisco, GGU)

We had a great year that was full of litigation. We again predominantly focused on representing foreign (non-German) clients and companies in proceedings before German courts and before the German authorities in general, as, for example, before the German trademark office.

Many of my cases in 2019 were defamation or "reputational damage" cases. A typical scenario is that a German company unfairly targets products of a non-German competitor on the German market by discrediting or denigrating the marks, goods, services, activities, or personal or business circumstances of the non-German competitor. These are typical cases of unfair competition. German courts are typically very fast with granting injunctions and damages to the benefit of the infringed competitor.

Another focus of my legal activity in 2019 were court cases against the German media (newspapers and all other media outlets, in particular when they are also visible on the internet). International well-renowned dignitaries, sports stars, artists and other celebrities are sometimes falsely portrayed by the German media. This false news reporting is often triggered by allegations coming from wannabe insiders, ex-husbands, ex-wives, competing artists etc., who feed the media with false claims. In such cases, German courts typically quickly grant speedy injunctions against the false media reporting. In addition, the alleging source can be stopped. Whoever claims something about another person has before a German court the full burden of proof that the factual basis for the made claims and allegations are true and accurate.

Another legal focus in 2019 were trademark cases before the German trademark office (DPMA) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). I have represented clients in several dozen opposition and cancellation proceedings before DPMA and EUIPO in 2019. If appealed, these cases then later go to the responsible German court or – in the EU – the General Court or the Court of Justice. I have also several cases there each year.

Also, I have had litigation in intellectual property, copyright and competition law of all sorts before German courts in 2019. The world is so international and has become so closely connected that infringing intellectual property of others has become quite easy. Germany is still a country with a strong protection of intellectual property rights (copyrights, trademarks, patents). The responsible IP law chambers within the respective German courts are regularly quite experienced in handling these IP cases and expect from us attorneys a fundamental and well-reasoned presentation of the facts and the legal aspects of the respective case. Over the years, I have come to know most of the responsible IP judges at the respective places of jurisdiction from the respective proceedings.

I'm certain 2020 will not be boring either. I wish you all a Happy and Joyful New Year 2020Lachend

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