Protection of intellectual property to be increased

German companies are suffering always more and to an ever greater extent from counterfeit products. This problem is addressed by a new bill adopted last Wednesday by the Federal goverment which is to transpose a corresponding EU directive. This bill not only facilitates the fight against forgeries, but it also reduces the malpractice of sending warnings to individuals.

The new law transposes the 2004/48/EG directive through amending several laws on the protection of intellectual property relating to: patents, utility patents, trademarks, semiconductors, copyrights, design patents, brands. Furthermore the bill adapts German law to an EU directive on EU border confiscation which plans to ease procedures allowing the destruction of piracy goods after their confiscation by customs authorities. The bill also aims at transposing an EU directive on the protection of geographical and origin specifications for agricultural products and foodstuffs thereyby closing a legal loophole so far allowing the illegal use of these specifications.

At the same time the new law will also put an end to the malpractice of sending warnings to individuals which had developed in an easy source of revenue for lawyers: in the future, if lawyers give warnings to individuals who without any commercial interest infringed upon copyright regulations, they are entitled to invoicing just 50 Euros. However, this reduced amount does not apply to cases where patents and trademarks are concerned given that in general these are always linked to commercial considerations, as is warned by the Federal ministry of justice. For these cases the existing high lawyer costs still apply. GERMAN