Infringements of competition often take place online. If this is the case, the question almost always arises as to which district court has local jurisdiction for the prosecution? Infringements of competition on the internet always have nationwide effect. The Regional Court of Frankfurt a.M. has ruled in Urt. 11.05.2021, Ref.: 3-06 O 14/21, the Regional Court of Frankfurt a.M. specified when the so-called "flying jurisdiction" is permissible in the case of an infringement of competition and the rights holder can "choose" the location of his court.
Which place of jurisdiction arises from Section 14(2) UWG?
Pursuant to Sec. 14 para. 2 sentence 1 and sentence 2 UWG, the action must be brought either at the defendant's place of jurisdiction or at the regional court in whose district the infringement took place (so-called "flying venue"). The claimant can choose between the two above-mentioned places of jurisdiction and, in the case of flying jurisdiction, also has the right to choose before which of the 116 regional courts in Germany he wishes to pursue his rights.
Does the place of jurisdiction always apply?
Pursuant to Sec. 14 para. 2 sentence 3 nos. 1 and 2 UWG, the Flying Jurisdiction does not apply, inter alia, to disputes concerning infringements in electronic commerce or telemedia.
Infringement of competition on the internet = in electronic commerce or telemedia?
It is questionable whether an infringement of competition on the internet always constitutes an infringement in electronic commerce or telemedia.
The Regional Court of Frankfurt a.M. ruled in its decision of 11 May 2021, file number 3-06 O 14/21, that an infringement of competition on the internet always constitutes an infringement in electronic legal transactions or in telemedia only if the infringing act is factually linked to electronic legal transactions or in telemedia.
An infringement in electronic commerce or in telemedia, for example, does not exist if an act of unfairness pursuant to Section 4 No. 1, 2 UWG is asserted. Such an act is not likely to give rise to a high potential for abuse and the risk of mass warning letters, as is the case, for example, with a violation of information and labelling obligations.
Like the Regional Court of Düsseldorf, the Regional Court of Frankfurt a.M. has now also ruled that the new Section 14 (2) sentence 3 no. 1 UWG ("flying jurisdiction") only applies if the infringement in question is factually linked to action in electronic legal transactions or in telemedia.
We are happy to answer any questions you may have about competition law. Of course, we also enforce your rights before all courts nationwide.
Source: Regional Court Frankfurt a.M., judgement of 11.05.2021, Ref. 3-06 O 14/21
GoldbergUllrich Lawyers 2021