What is German Competition Law all about?
German Competition Law is also Advertisement Law; advertising is regulated on the basis of the measures of the Marketing Mix. This takes place independently of the medium used and detached from the audience addressed. Thus, also a single letter from a company to a customer already represent a form of “advertising” in legal sense.
An anticompetitive conduct is usually dealt with by means of a warning letter and a request to submit a Cease-and-Desist Declaration subject to penalty. This is a non-regulated legal institution. The legitimate party must reimburse the competitor who issued the warning for the costs of legal recourse. These costs start at approximately EUR 500 in the case of relatively simple, “non-hazardous” infringements and can quickly reach the mid-four-digit range. Also in the light of this circumstance, it is advisable to examine the marketing measure beforehand.
If a Cease-and-Decease Declaration (transl. Unterlassungserklärung) is not sufficient, the competitor may seek legal assistance. After the expiration of the deadline set in a warning letter, which is often short, an interim injunction proceedings can be issued. The overall procedure may comprise two summary proceedings and three main proceedings.