Court rulings in the area of IT and computer law
Deep-linking is permitted according to the ruling of the German Supreme Court (“Paperboy”) (case no. I ZR 259/00 of 17th July 2003). Whoever puts publicly accessible articles online has to accept that they may be linked directly (so-called deep-linking“ or web-clipping“) while bypassing the entry pages of content providers.
The German Supreme Court (MAXEM.DE, Docket Nr. I ZR 296/00), in contrast to lower courts, held in its ruling of 26th June 2003 that the owner of the name prevails in the dispute over the internet address MAXEM.DE. The ruling argued mostly on the basis of law relating to names without regarding the peculiarities of the internet.
On 22nd November, 2001, the German Supreme Court (case number I ZR 138/99, SHELL.DE regarding § 14(2)(3) and § 15 (3) of the Trademark Act and § 12 of the Civil Code) sided with the lower courts which carved out an exception to the first come first serve“ rule and affirmed the domain name to a subsidiary company of the worldwide mineral oil tycoon.
Compilation of stock data: No copyright protection but infringement of performing rights concerning competition law.
“Mitwohnzentrale.de”: In the dispute between two service platforms for people seeking partners to share residential space, the Regional Appeal Court in Hamburg held that the domain “mitwohnwohnzentrale.de” cannot be monopolised since this descriptive name (Mitwohnzentrale – approx.: share-a-flat) pulls too many clients and thus restrains competition. Click here for a commentary.
On the 17th May 2001, the German Supreme Court BGH (mitwohnzentrale.de) upheld the ruling of the Regional Appeal Court in Hamburg with the effect that generic terms are now “again” allowed as domain names. The Federal Supreme Court, however, has already sketched an outline of what the criteria of behaviour contrary to fair competition will be.
In its ruling of 4th May 2000, the Regional Court of Appeal (OLG) in Hamburg – Kulturwerbung.de – held that that an internet domain is principally suitable for representing a company or person that has such a name, even if it contains generic terms.
Linking liability - the Regional Appeal Court in Brunswick (ftp-explorer) ruled that § 5 of the Teleservices Act is generally applicable to linking.