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GRP Rainer LLP

AUGUSTINERSTRAßE 10, 50667 COLOGNE, GERMANY
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Berlin, Bonn, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg and 3 more

Press releases and law firm thought leadership

This page is dedicated to keeping readers informed of the latest news and thought leadership articles from law firms across the globe.

If your firm wishes to publish press releases or articles, please contact Shehab Khurshid on +44 (0) 207 396 5689 or shehab.khurshid@legalease.co.uk

 

BFH – Withdrawal of a partner with neutral impact on profits

September 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

In its rulings from May 16 and 30, 2017, the Bundesfinanzhof (BFH), Germany’s Federal Fiscal Court, has made it easier for a partner to withdraw from a partnership (Az.: IV R 31/14 and IV R 11/15).

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BGH – Misleading eye-catching advertising and significant purchasing decisions

September 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

An attention-grabbing or eye-catching advertisement needs to include a clear reference to correct possible erroneous preconceptions. According to the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), Germany’s Federal Supreme Court, this is also true for economically significant purchases.

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BSG on mandatory social security contributions for managing directors

September 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Mandatory social security contributions for managing directors are a controversial subject. The Bundessozialgericht (BSG), Germany’s federal supreme court in relation to social security matters, recently ruled that managing directors shall, as a rule, be deemed to be employees of a GmbH.

 

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BGH on managing directors’ liability for competition violations

September 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Managing directors may be liable for their company’s violations of competition law. Having said that, the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), Germany’s Federal Supreme Court, has severely limited managing directors’ liability (Az.: I ZR 242/12).

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LAG Hamm – Prohibited surveillance in the workplace

August 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Monitoring employees using video surveillance is only permitted within narrow boundaries. Illegal recordings cannot therefore be used as evidence in the context of workplace legal disputes.

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Competition law – The term “Praxisklinik” does not entail inpatient treatment

August 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

A dentist is allowed to promote his or her homepage with the term “Praxisklinik”, i.e. “(practice) clinic”, even if they do not admit patients for extended periods of time as inpatients. That was the verdict of the Landgericht (LG) Essen, the Regional Court of Essen.

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Improper extension of a discount campaign

August 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Caution is advised when extending a fixed-term discount campaign. Extending the campaign may constitute misleading advertising and thus a violation of competition law.

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Power of attorney can constitute a valid will

August 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

It is possible for a power of attorney to constitute a valid will. That was the verdict of the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Hamm, the Higher Regional Court of Hamm, in a ruling from May 11, 2017 (Az.: 10 U 64/16).

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Breach of duty by management – Special audit in cases involving a GmbH

August 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

If there is reason to suspect that management has breached its duties, the shareholders of a GmbH, a type of a German private limited company, can request that a special audit be carried out.

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GRP Rainer RechtsanwĂ€lte – Report on D&O insurance

August 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

In cases where damage or injury has occurred, it is increasingly common for the issue of D&O liability to take centre stage. For this reason, many companies have taken out a D&O insurance policy for their managers.

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GRP Rainer RechtsanwĂ€lte – Experience with right of authorized dealer to claim compensation

August 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Like commercial agents, authorized dealers may also be entitled to claim compensation after the relevant agreement has been terminated. For this to happen, certain conditions need to be fulfilled.

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Commercial agent’s right to claim compensation in the case of past clients

August 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The commercial agent’s right to claim compensation in the event of turnover increases with past clients comes up time and time again as a contentious issue. A ruling of the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Celle, the Higher Regional Court of Celle, has now bolstered the position of commercial agents (Az.: 11 U 88/16).

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BGH – Abuse of superior market power is a violation of antitrust law

August 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

If a company abuses its market power, this constitutes a violation of antitrust law. In a ruling from January 23, 2018, the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), Germany’s Federal Supreme Court, has bolstered the Bundeskartellamt, Germany’s Federal Cartel Office (Az.: KVR 3/17).

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GRP Rainer RechtsanwĂ€lte – Abuse of a dominant market position – Antitrust assessment

July 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Businesses are not allowed to abuse their dominant market position, as this constitutes a violation of antitrust law. The key issue that requires assessment is when this kind of abuse has occurred.

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Heirs within a patchwork family

July 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Patchwork families, also known as blended families, are no longer a rarity today, yet succession law has yet to adapt to this development. According to the rules of intestate succession, stepchildren come away empty-handed.

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GmbH shareholder’s rights of access and inspection

July 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The shareholders of a GmbH, a type of German private limited company, have extensive rights to information that go beyond the general meeting of the shareholders, and they are able to exercise their rights of access and inspection.

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GRP Rainer RechtsanwĂ€lte – Assessing manager liability in the event of imminent insolvency

July 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

One of a managing director’s duties is filing for insolvency on time. If this duty is breached, the managing director may be held personally liable.

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BGH: Removal of a shareholder managing director for good cause

June 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

When it comes to the removal of a shareholder managing director of a GmbH, a type of German private limited liability company, for good cause, it is a matter of whether there was in fact good cause at the time the decision was taken.

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No discrimination – Local authority position for equal opportunity officer only open women

June 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Germany’s General Act on Equal Treatment, aka the allgemeine Gleichbehandlungsgesetz (AGG), is supposed to protect against discrimination, e.g. on the basis of gender. That being said, exceptions can be made, as demonstrated by a ruling of the Landesarbeitsgericht (LAG) Schleswig-Holstein [Regional Labour Court of Schleswig-Holstein].

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Prohibited advertising for homeopathic medicinal products featuring promise of success

June 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The Oberlandesgericht (OLG) MĂŒnchen [Higher Regional Court of Munich] has ruled that promoting a homeopathic medicinal product with a promise of success is prohibited and a violation of competition law.

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Prohibited advertising – No bread roll vouchers at pharmacy

June 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Pharmacies are bound by a uniform sales price for prescription medications. Even small additions to the price of medicinal products can constitute a violation of competition law.

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OLG Frankfurt on misleading food advertising

June 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Foods are not allowed to give consumers false impressions concerning their ingredients. That being said, not every ambiguity is automatically considered to be misleading to consumers.

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Technical function not enough for trademark protection

June 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

According to trademark law, it is not possible to register marks as trademarks if they consist exclusively of a shape that is necessary to obtain a technical result.

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GRP Rainer RechtsanwĂ€lte – Experience in directors’ liability cases

June 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Managing directors of a GmbH, a type of German private limited company, may be liable in the event of insolvency. A common bone of contention is the matter of payments made by the managing director after the onset of insolvency.

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GRP Rainer RechtsanwĂ€lte – Taking out D&O insurance

June 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Taking out a D&O insurance policy for a company’s executive bodies is a crucial step to reducing the risk of personal liability.

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EGC – Stringent requirements for colour combinations as trademarks

May 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Combinations of two or more colours need to be precisely defined for them to be capable of being registered as a colour trademark. That was the verdict of the General Court of the European Union (EGC) (Az.: T 101/15).

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GRP Rainer RechtsanwĂ€lte – Assessment of a Berliner Testament

May 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Spouses frequently draft a Berliner Testament, literally a “Berlin will”, by mutually appointed each other as sole heirs. Before doing so, it ought to be examined whether a Berliner Testament is the most appropriate form.

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General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) must be implemented by May 25, 2018

May 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Businesses need to keep May 25, 2018 in mind. This is the day when the EU General Data Protection Regulation, GDPR for short, officially comes into force.

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LAG Hamm: Fixed-term employment contract due to extra work must be properly justified

May 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

A temporary need for manpower can constitute an objective reason justifying a fixed-term employment contract, but this temporary need has to be properly justified.

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BGH – Bank must explain risk if interest rate dependent on exchange rate

May 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

If the interest rate on a loan is based on the development of exchange rates, the bank has a duty to inform with respect to the foreign exchange risk. That was the verdict of the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), Germany’s Federal Supreme Court, in a recent ruling (XI ZR 152/17).

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Antitrust law – DFB simplifies ticket allocation for 2018 World Cup

May 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The way in which it has allocated tickets has led the DFB, Germany’s Football Association, to be suspected of abusing its dominant market position. The Bundeskartellamt, Germany’s Federal Cartel Office, has since suspended its investigations into the matter.

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CJEU on protected designations of origin

May 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

As in the case of brands, geographical designations of origin can be protected as well. It is therefore also possible for advertising featuring references to origin to be misleading to consumers and thus impermissible.

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BAG: Employer not liable for harm caused by vaccine

May 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Employers who have flu vaccines administered within their company are not liable for any harm that might occur as a result of the vaccine. That was the verdict of the Bundesarbeitsgericht (BAG), Germany’s Federal Labour Court, in a recent ruling.

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BAG: Threats made by employee can justify dismissal with immediate effect

May 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Employers do not have to accept threats made by employees. These can constitute good cause justifying extraordinary notice of dismissal with immediate effect, as demonstrated by a ruling of the Bundesarbeitsgericht (BAG), Germany’s Federal Labour Court.

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GRP Rainer RechtsanwĂ€lte – New additions to commercial and company law team

April 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

We at the international commercial law firm GRP Rainer RechtsanwÀlte have bolstered our team in order to make further improvements to the high-quality advice we provide to our growing clientele.

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Prohibition of competition – BGH bolsters commercial agents’ rights

April 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Commercial agency agreements often include a prohibition of competition, also known as a no-competition clause. Notwithstanding this, certain clauses in the general terms and conditions may be invalid, as is clear from a ruling of the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), Germany’s Federal Supreme Court (Az.: VII ZR 100/15).

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OLG DĂŒsseldorf – Deletions in a will need to be ambiguous

April 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

If a testator removes parts of his will, these deletions should demonstrably come from him. Otherwise, the deleted passages might still be effective.

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BGH on compensation for bribes

April 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Bribes are immoral and justify compensation claims for damages. These can be directed at recipients as well as those who initiated the bribes.

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GRP Rainer RechtsanwĂ€lte – Report on the distinctiveness of a trade mark

April 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

In order to be able to register a company symbol or logo as a trade mark, it needs to have the necessary distinctive character to distinguish it from the products and services of other businesses.

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LAG Hamm: Dismissal on grounds of suspicion must comply with strict requirements

April 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

If an employer wants to issue notice of dismissal on grounds of suspicion, the circumstances need to be sufficiently suspicious such that it is almost certain the employee in question committed the relevant offence.

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GRP Rainer RechtsanwĂ€lte – Evaluating a trade mark’s distinctiveness

March 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Before a mark can be registered as a trade mark, it needs to be assessed whether it possesses the necessary distinctiveness vis-à-vis other vendors’ products and services.

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GRP Rainer RechtsanwĂ€lte – Experience drafting valid wills

March 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Anyone who wants their estate to be organized in accordance with their wishes prepares a will. However, there are many pitfalls that can result in the will being ineffective.

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Rescinding acceptance of an inheritance on account of an error

March 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

It is only possible to rescind acceptance of an inheritance on account of an error concerning the estate’s over-indebtedness if the heir assumed that the estate was of value.

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Dismissal with immediate effect for sending business documents to personal email address effective

March 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Anyone sending business documents to his or her personal email address should expect to be dismissed with immediate effect. This comes from a ruling of the Landesarbeitsgericht (LAG) Berlin-Brandenburg [Regional Labour Court of Berlin-Brandenburg] from May 16, 2017.

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OLG Bremen: Right reserved in a joint will to make amendments can be restricted

March 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The right reserved in a joint will to make amendments can be made conditional on the approval of a third party. That was the verdict of the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Bremen [Higher Regional Court of Bremen].

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LAG Rheinland-Pfalz: Employee needs to have good cause for termination with immediate effect

March 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

For termination of an employment relationship with immediate effect to be effective, there needs to be good cause. This is true whether notice of dismissal is issued by the employer or the employee.

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Employer’s right to give instructions regarding business trips abroad

February 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

An employer’s executive prerogative entails being able to order business trips abroad if the employee commits himself to undertake this kind of service in his or her employment contract. That was the verdict of the Landesarbeitsgericht (LAG) Baden-WĂŒrttemberg [Regional Labour Court of Baden-WĂŒrttemberg].

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Managers‘ risk of liability and D&O insurance

February 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Mistakes made by managers can prove costly both for the company as well as the managers themselves. For this reason, many companies take out D&O insurance policies for their executive personnel.

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Wallpaper cartel – Heavy fines for illegal price fixing

February 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

In its ruling of October 12, 2017, the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) DĂŒsseldorf [Higher Regional Court of DĂŒsseldorf] imposed fines totalling more than 19 million euros against members of the so-called Tapeten-Kartell, or “wallpaper cartel” (Az.: V-2 Kart 1-3/17).

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Truck cartel – Damages claims against Scania now also a possibility

February 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Last summer, the European Commission imposed heavy fines on five truck manufacturers for violations of antirust law. The Swedish truck manufacturer Scania is now being asked to pay up as well.

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BGH: A square shape can also be protected as a trademark

February 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Three-dimensional symbols that represent the shape of a product can be protected as a trademark. That was the verdict of the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), Germany’s Federal Supreme Court, in two rulings from October 18, 2017 (Az.: I ZB 3/17 and I ZB 4/17).

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No registration of “Bester Papa” as EU trade mark due to lack of distinctiveness

February 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

In order for a trade mark to be capable of being registered as a European Union trade mark it needs to be highly distinctive. The slogan “Bester Papa” (“Best dad(dy)/papa”) lacks this distinctive character.

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LAG Rheinland-Pfalz: Dismissal with immediate effect for damage to property effective

January 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Serious breaches of duty by an employee may justify dismissal with immediate effect. Damage to property can constitute good cause justifying exceptional notice of dismissal with immediate effect.

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GRP Rainer RechtsanwĂ€lte – Report on GmbH managing director’s obligation to contribute to socia

January 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Whether the managing director of a GmbH, a type of German private limited liability company, is obligated to make contributions to social security is frequently a point of contention. Various different factors need to be considered when weighing things up.

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GRP Rainer RechtsanwĂ€lte – Experience with D&O insurance

January 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Taking out a D&O insurance policy is supposed to reduce executives’ risk of liability. Experience shows that it is crucial to pay attention to details when taking out a policy.

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GRP Rainer RechtsanwÀlte: Assessing the grounds for dismissal with immediate effect

January 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Exceptional notice of dismissal with immediate effect needs to be well prepared if it is to be issued effectively. To this end, it needs to be assessed whether sufficient grounds for dismissal exist.

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Amendments to will valid despite lack of a signature

January 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

In exceptional circumstances, retrospective amendments to a will may be valid even in the absence of a signature. That was the verdict of the Kammergericht (KG) Berlin [Berlin Court of Appeal] in its ruling of March 28, 2017 (Az.: 6 W 97/16).

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Berliner Testament – Final heir able to reclaim gifts

January 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

A joint spousal will has a strong binding effect and can potentially affect gifts made by the surviving spouse, as demonstrated by a ruling of the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Hamm [Higher Regional Court of Hamm].

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Automatic exchange of financial information has begun – Voluntary disclosure for tax evasion

January 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The wagons are circling around tax evaders. The automatic exchange of financial information began on September 30, 2017. An initial 49 countries are participating in addition to Germany.

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Company reintegration management program necessary in cases of dismissal due to illness

January 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Before issuing notice of dismissal on account of illness, an employer ought to assess whether the relevant employee’s inability to work can be overcome with the help of a company reintegration management program.

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Planned closure justifies compulsory redundancy

January 2018. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

If an employer seriously intends to close an establishment then it can issue notices of dismissal due to operational circumstances, i.e. notices of compulsory or forced redundancy. That was the verdict of the Landesarbeitsgericht (LAG) Rheinland-Pfalz [Regional Labour Court of Rhineland-Palatinate] (Az.: 5 Sa 51/16).

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Successful loan withdrawal due to unclear information regarding conclusion of building insurance

December 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Missing or incorrect mandatory information in relation to real estate mortgages that have been taken out since June 11, 2010 means that loan withdrawal is still a possibility.

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M&A transactions: Amendment to the Außenwirtschaftsverordnung means more rigorous auditing

December 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

M&A transactions were heading for a record high in Germany last year. German firms were a popular target among foreign investors interested in corporate takeovers.

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Dismissal on grounds of conduct requires proper justification

December 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

If an employee violates obligations set forth in his employment contract, he may then be issued with notice of dismissal on grounds of conduct. That being said, the notice needs to well prepared if it is to be effective.

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OLG Köln: Contesting acceptance of an inheritance on account of an error

December 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

If an inheritance is not rejected within a period of six weeks then it is deemed to have been accepted. Notwithstanding this, it may still be possible to contest the acceptance of the inheritance.

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GRP Rainer RechtsanwĂ€lte – Experience in business succession

December 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

A large number of small and medium-sized businesses are going to have to make arrangements for business succession in the near future. There are various possible approaches to organizing succession.

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OLG Köln: Will written with non-dominant hand valid

December 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

It is possible for a will to be valid even if it was written with the hand one does not normally write with. That was the verdict of the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Köln [Higher Regional Court of Cologne] in its ruling of August 3, 2017 (Az.: 2 Wx 149/17).

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GRP Rainer RechtsanwĂ€lte – Experience in establishing companies

December 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Choosing the right corporate form when establishing a company can contribute a great deal to the economic success of the business.

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Strict test for testamentary capacity if serious delusions suspected

December 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The testator must have testamentary capacity as a prerequisite for a valid will. Chronic delusions can give rise to a lack of testamentary capacity, as demonstrated by a ruling of the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Frankfurt [Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt].

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GRP Rainer RechtsanwÀlte: Valuation of commercial agents right to compensation

December 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

After a commercial agency agreement has been terminated, the commercial agent is normally entitled to compensation. The assessment of the extent of this right to compensation frequently gives rise to disputes.

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OLG Köln: Only serious misconduct justifies withdrawal from contract of inheritance

November 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Apart from a will, it is also possible to prepare a contract of inheritance as a way of organizing one’s estate. It should be noted, however, that a contract of inheritance has a significantly stronger binding effect.

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Commercial agent’s claim for compensation following voluntary termination

November 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

A commercial agent may even be entitled to compensation if he or she voluntarily issues notice of termination. However, the company’s conduct needs to give rise to legitimate grounds for termination for this to happen.

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Pharmacies not allowed to offer promotional gifts in the case of fixed-price pharmaceuticals

November 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Pharmacies are not allowed to offer their customers promotional gifts when the latter are purchasing prescription medicinal products. That was the verdict of the Oberverwaltungsgericht (OVG) NRW, North Rhine-Westphalia’s Higher Administrative Court, in two rulings from September 8, 2017.

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OLG Köln on incorporating the execution of a will into the certificate of inheritance

November 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Heirs might be able to do as they wish with an estate even if an execution of a will has been ordered if its function is supervisory in nature. That was the verdict of the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Köln [Higher Regional Court of Cologne].

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Inheritance – Waiving compulsory portion among siblings may prove more expensive

November 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Legal heirs who waive their compulsory portion and receive a form of compensation for doing so need to keep an eye on the tax burden. Following a judgment of the Bundesfinanzhof (BFH), Germany’s Federal Fiscal Court, this may turn out to be higher than was previously the case.

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OLG Frankfurt: Contesting the renunciation of an inheritance on account of an error

November 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

As a matter of principle, an heir has the option of renouncing his or her inheritance. Under certain circumstances, the heir can also challenge and revoke this renunciation.

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BGH on risk of confusion in trademark law

October 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Anyone registering a trademark needs to make sure that no rights pertaining to an existing trademark will be infringed and that there is no risk of confusion between the trademarks.

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BGH: Online advertising must clearly reference energy efficiency class

October 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

When it comes to online advertising for electronic appliances, the energy efficiency class must be clearly visible to consumers. That was the verdict of the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH) in its ruling of April 6, 2017 (Az.: I ZR 159/16).

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BAG: Strict requirements for dismissal on grounds of suspicion

October 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

It is possible to issue exceptional notice terminating an employment relationship if there is good cause for doing so. However, in cases involving dismissal for good cause based on suspicion, this suspicion needs to be underpinned by strong circumstantial evidence.

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BGH: Advertisements must include all information material to the consumer

October 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

If an advertisement constitutes an “invitation to purchase”, it needs to include all of the information necessary for the consumer. That was the verdict of the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), Germany’s Federal Supreme Court (Az.: I ZR 41/16).

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OLG Köln on validity of a nuncupative will before three witnesses

October 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

If the testator is at acute risk of death, it is possible to draft what is referred to in German as a “Nottestament”, or nuncupative will, before three witnesses. That being said, even a nuncupative will has to fulfil certain criteria for it to be effective.

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Breach of confidentiality obligation – Dismissal with immediate effect valid

October 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Breach of a confidentiality obligation can justify issuing an employee with notice of dismissal with immediate effect. That was the verdict of the Landesarbeitsgericht (LAG) Baden-WĂŒrttemberg [Regional Labour Court of Baden-WĂŒrttemberg] (Az.: 12 Sa 22/16).

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European succession law – Implications for heirs and testator

October 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Many German citizens prefer to spend their twilight years in warmer climates. Instead of holidaying in Majorca, the island becomes the centre of their lives. However, this has implications for inheritance.

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BAG: Dismissal with immediate effect on account of sexual harassment

October 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Reaching into a work colleague’s personal space can justify dismissal with immediate effect, even if the act was not sexually motivated. That was the verdict of the Bundesarbeitsgericht (BAG), Germany’s Federal Labour Court (Az.: 2 AZR 302/16).

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Insolvency: BGH bolsters creditors‘ rights

October 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Good news for creditors of an insolvent business partner: In its ruling of June 22, 2017, the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), Germany’s Federal Supreme Court, has bolstered their rights when contesting a debtor’s transactions in insolvency proceedings (Az.: IX ZR 111/14).

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Immediate dismissal in case involving permitted second job invalid without prior formal warning

October 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Before an employer issues notice of dismissal with immediate effect, it ought to examine whether a prior formal warning is necessary. Failure to do so can prove to be a costly mistake, as demonstrated by a ruling of the Landesarbeitsgericht (LAG) DĂŒsseldorf [Regional Labour Court of DĂŒsseldorf].

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Wills in cases involving childless married couples

October 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Those who wish to play it safe when it comes to the subject of inheritance ought not to rely on the rules of intestate succession and should instead prepare a will. This also applies to childless couples.

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Make arrangements for inheritance early on in patchwork families

October 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The number of what are referred to as patchwork or blended families is increasing, with these sometimes giving rise to problems in inheritance cases. For this reason, particularly unmarried couples and patchwork families should give thought to preparing a will or contract of inheritance.

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Possible to agree to age limit for managing directors as grounds for termination

October 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

It is possible to agree to an age limit for a managing director of a GmbH in his employment contract, with his reaching the specified age serving as grounds for ordinary notice of termination. That was the verdict of the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Hamm [Higher Regional Court of Hamm].

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BKA analyses Panama Papers – Voluntary disclosure for tax evasion

October 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

It has been known since the beginning of July that the Bundeskriminalamt (BKA), Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office, has purchased what are referred to as the “Panama Papers” and is set to analyse the controversial information they contain. Those who are concerned they may have evaded taxes can still submit a voluntary declaration.

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GRP Rainer RechtsanwÀlte: Experience drafting Berliner Testaments

October 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Spouses ought to be afforded financial security in the event of their partner’s death. Many married couples want this to happen and therefore prepare a joint will, also referred to as a “Berliner Testament” (Berlin will).

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GRP Rainer RechtsanwĂ€lte – Assessing possible violations of antitrust law

October 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Investigations looking into whether the so-called “car cartel” entered into illegal arrangements and thus breached antitrust law are currently underway. Should this be the case, the cartel members should anticipate heavy fines.

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Bundeskartellamt imposes fine for illegal price fixing

October 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The Bundeskartellamt, Germany’s Federal Cartel Office, has imposed fines amounting to just under 11 million euros on two companies from the clothing industry on account of illegal vertical resale price maintenance agreements.

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Bogus application – No right to compensation

September 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

If someone submits a bogus application without serious intent in response to a job advertisement, they are not entitled to demand compensation if the employer violates Germany’s Allgemeine Gleichbehandlungsgesetz (AGG) [General Act on Equal Treatment].

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Car cartel – Allegations against VW, Daimler and BMW

September 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The suspicion was borne out: the car makers Volkswagen (VW), Audi, Porsche, Daimler and BMW are reported to have coordinated in relation to technology, suppliers and costs and formed a kind of car cartel.

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BAG: No workplace surveillance using keyloggers without specific grounds

September 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Monitoring an employee using a keylogger is only permissible if there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that an offence or a serious breach of duty has been committed. That was the verdict of the Bundesarbeitsgericht (BAG), Germany’s Federal Labour Court.

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Straw man managing director held responsible for breaches of duty

September 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Ignorance does not spare anyone from punishment. The Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Celle [Higher Regional Court of Celle] confirmed that this holds true for managing directors who are merely a front, ruling that they are liable for breaches of duty.

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BGH on illegal health claims in the context of advertising food items

August 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

In its ruling of March 29, 2017, the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), Germany’s Federal Supreme Court, clarified once again that health claims cannot pertain to products and must relate to substances (Az.: I ZR 71/16).

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Depiction of a protected trademark on the site map for a fair not a trademark violation

August 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Merely using a third-party’s protected trademark on the site map for a fair does not constitute a violation of trademark law. That was the verdict of the Landgericht (LG) Köln [Regional Court of Cologne] in its ruling of March 7, 2017.

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Cartel Office imposes fine on battery manufacturers for illegal arrangements

August 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The Bundeskartellamt, Germany’s Federal Cartel Office, has imposed fines totalling around 28 million euros against two manufacturers of industrial batteries for entering into illegal arrangements.

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Dismissal due to illness only possible in the case of a negative health prognosis

August 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

While it is a relatively widespread misconception that employees cannot be dismissed while they are sick, dismissal due to illness does require certain conditions be fulfilled.

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Loose slips of paper not a valid will according to KG Berlin

August 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

When it comes to wills, it is important to observe certain formal requirements. According to the Kammergericht (KG) Berlin [Higher Regional Court of Berlin], a loose collection of notes cannot be considered a testamentary disposition.

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Animal shelter effectively designated as heir in will

August 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

It is not possible for animals to inherit, but the same does not hold true for animal shelters. That being said, a clearly drafted will needs to be prepared for this to happen.

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Submit a voluntary declaration leading to immunity for tax evasion while you still can

August 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

A voluntary declaration leading to immunity for tax evasion needs to be tailored to the exact circumstances of a given case. Only then can voluntary declaration actually lead to immunity.

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Dismissal with immediate effect after constantly working up working hours deficit

August 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Flexible working hours are commonplace in many companies today. Notwithstanding this, employees must perform the work they owe to their employer pursuant to their employment contract, otherwise they may be faced with exceptional notice of dismissal.

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European Commission imposes fine on Google for antitrust violations

August 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The European Commission has imposed a fine totalling 2.42 billion euros on the internet giant Google for violating antitrust law.

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Wills in the case of unmarried couples

August 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The Bundestag, Germany’s lower house of parliament, has voted in favour of what it is referred to in Germany as “Ehe fĂŒr alle” (marriage for all), i.e. marriage equality. Spouses are automatically accounted for under the rules of intestate succession. However, this is not the case for unmarried couples. For these couples, the rules of intestate succession do not apply.

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GRP Rainer RechtsanwÀlte: Experience in enforcing claims following trademark violations

August 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

If a registered trademark is infringed, it is possible to take action against this. GRP Rainer RechtsanwÀlte is experienced in enforcing and fending off claims arising from trademark violations.

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Dismissal with immediate effect for competing business activity valid

August 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

If an employee acquires a major stake in a rival firm, his employer can issue him with a notice of dismissal with immediate effect.

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GRP Rainer RechtsanwÀlte: Assessing claims to a compulsory portion

August 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

If close relatives of a testator are excluded from inheriting in a will or contract of inheritance, they are still entitled to their share of the statutory compulsory portion.

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Advertising for medicinal products must relate to approved fields of application

August 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Advertising for medicinal products must relate to approved fields of application. Failing this, the advertising may violate competition law as well as Germany’s Heilmittelwerbegesetz (HWG) [Advertising of Medicinal Products Act].

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Anti-competitive advertising featuring flat rate for tooth cleaning and bleaching

July 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

According to a ruling of the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Frankfurt [Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt] from July 21, 2016, dentists offering tooth cleaning or bleaching services at a fixed flat rate are violating competition law (Az.: 6 U 136/15).

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CJEU: Impermissible advertising for glucose featuring true statements

July 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Even if health-related advertising claims are true, they may still mislead consumers and thus be impermissible. That was the verdict of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) (Az.: C-296/16 P).

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GRP Rainer RechtsanwĂ€lte: Assessing managers’ liability risk

July 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Company managers bear a high level of not only responsibility but also risk. Various measures can be taken to reduce the risk of directors’ and officers’ (D&O) liability.

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Making arrangements for one’s estate early on with a will or contract of inheritance

July 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Inheritance is set to become an ever more important topic in the coming years, which is why it is more crucial than ever to think about the distribution of one’s estate at an early stage.

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Occupational rehabilitation management program and dismissal due to illness

July 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

In the case of sick employees, employers ought to closely explore the possibility of an occupational rehabilitation management program. Otherwise, dismissal due to illness may be invalid.

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Voluntary declaration for tax evasion still possible

July 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

While the number of voluntary declarations for tax evasion is declining, voluntary disclosure remains possible and is the only way of avoiding the imminent prospect of a conviction for tax evasion.

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GRP Rainer RechtsanwĂ€lte: Experience in antitrust law – 9th amendment to the GWB

July 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Antitrust law is not something that merely concerns large corporations. It also affects small and medium-sized businesses. Violations of antitrust law can be met with severe penalties.

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BAG: Dismissal with the option of altered conditions of employment needs to be sufficiently precise

June 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

In the case of dismissal with the option of altered conditions of employment, the offer to continue the employment relationship needs to clearly define the new terms. That was the verdict of the Bundesarbeitsgericht (BAG), Germany’s Federal Labour Court (Az.: 2 AZR 68/16).

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GRP Rainer RechtsanwÀlte: Assessing obligation to make social security payments in the case of mana

June 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Whether a managing director is obliged to make social security contributions depends on various factors. GRP Rainer RechtsanwÀlte has carried out an assessment of the obligation to make social security payments.

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GRP Rainer RechtsanwĂ€lte – Experience in commercial agency law

June 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

In the event that a commercial agency agreement is terminated, the commercial agent often has a right to compensation. Frequent points of contention include the extent of any such entitlement and the classification of new clients.

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Trademark law – Pear too strong a reminder of an apple

June 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

One cannot compare apples and pears, at least not according to the equivalent German expression for comparing apples and oranges. However, as demonstrated by a decision of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), things may look rather different in the field of trademark law.

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OLG Hamburg on misleading advertising – No fees means no fees

June 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

If something is promoted as being free, then it should in fact be free. Otherwise, this kind of advertising might be misleading and violate competition law, as demonstrated by a ruling of the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Hamburg [Higher Regional Court of Hamburg].

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Making timely arrangements for business succession

June 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The demographic trend poses a serious challenge to medium-sized businesses, particularly in relation to the unavoidable issue of making arrangements for business succession.

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Properly preparing a will

June 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

There are clear rules in Germany determining who will inherit. In the absence of a will or contract of inheritance, the rules of intestate succession apply. In that case, the first to inherit are the spouse or civil partner and one’s own children.

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LAG Schleswig-Holstein – Dismissal with immediate effect for causing serious offence justified

June 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Anyone who causes serious offence to his employer or a colleague should anticipate the possibility of being dismissed with immediate effect, as demonstrated by a ruling of the Landesarbeitsgericht (LAG) Schleswig-Holstein [Regional Labour Court of Schleswig-Holstein] from January 24, 2017 (Az.: 3 Sa 244/16).

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OLG Karlsruhe: Pre-formulated tie-in clause in employment contract for managing director

June 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

According to a ruling of the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Karlsruhe [Higher Regional Court of Karlsruhe], clauses in an employment contract for a managing director stating that removing the managing director simultaneously terminates the employment contract may be invalid. 

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BAG: Exceptional notice of dismissal effective if there is video evidence

May 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Even covert video footage can potentially justify exceptional notice of dismissal. That was the verdict of the Bundesarbeitsgericht (BAG), Germany’s Federal Labour Court, in its judgment of September 22, 2016 (Az.: 2 AZR 848/15).

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Terminating employment relationship and prior formal warnings

May 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Formal written warnings play an important role in the field of employment law, with one often being a prerequisite to the employer effectively terminating an employment relationship.

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Competition law: Goods on display must feature total price on label

May 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The final cost of goods on display needs to be readily apparent to customers. According to a recent ruling of the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Hamm [Higher Regional Court of Hamm], quoting only part of the price constitutes a violation of competition law.

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Purchase of further tax CDs possible – Voluntary disclosure for tax evasion

May 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Since 2010, the German exchequer has reeled in a nationwide total of around six billion euros by way of voluntary declarations for tax evasion. For tax dodgers, voluntary disclosure remains the only way out.

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Reform of law governing challenges to debtor’s transactions in insolvency proceedings

May 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The reform of insolvency law is meant to bolster the rights of creditors in the event that a business partner becomes insolvent as well as provide greater legal certainty.

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GRP Rainer RechtsanwĂ€lte – Assessing trademark violations

May 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Protecting your brand is crucial. One ought to take resolute action against trademark violations. That being said, you should first assess whether a trademark violation has in fact occurred.

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OLG Köln: Heir must be defined with sufficient clarity in will

May 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Testators need to define their heirs with sufficient clarity in wills, because the will might otherwise be invalid. That was the verdict of the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Köln [Higher Regional Court of Cologne] in its ruling of November 14, 2016 (Az.: 2 Wx 536/16).

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GRP Rainer RechtsanwĂ€lte – Experience in asserting exceptional notice of dismissal

May 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Exceptional notice of dismissal needs to be thoroughly prepared. The law firm GRP Rainer RechtsanwÀlte has the necessary experience when it comes to asserting exceptional notice of dismissal.

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Breach of competition law due to lack of labelling on energy consumption

May 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Electronic appliances that can be seen on display but lack labelling on energy consumption constitute a violation of competition law. That was the verdict of the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), Germany’s Federal Supreme Court (Az.: I ZR 213/15).

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BAG: Reduced notice period during probation only applies if employment contract clearly drafted

April 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Employers ought to tread carefully when it comes to terminating an employment relationship during the probationary period, as a reduced notice period for dismissal only applies if the employment contract has been clearly drafted.

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BAG: Dismissal at request of works council

April 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

It is possible for a works council to push through the dismissal of an employee, as demonstrated by a recent ruling of the Bundesarbeitsgericht (BAG), Germany’s Federal Labour Court, from March 28, 2017 (Az.: 2 AZR 551/16).

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BGH: Health claims in relation to mineral water need to comply with the Health Claims Regulation

April 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Health claims in relation to mineral water need to be consistent with the Health Claims Regulation. This was confirmed by the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), Germany’s Federal Supreme Court, in its ruling of January 30, 2017 (Az.: I ZR 257/15).

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BAG: Post-contractual prohibition on competition invalid without a waiting allowance

April 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Post-contractual prohibitions on competition that do not provide for compensation for this period, i.e. a waiting allowance, are null and void. That was the verdict of the Bundesarbeitsgericht (BAG), Germany’s Federal Labour Court, in its ruling of March 22, 2017 (Az.: 10 AZR 448/15).

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Tax dodgers under pressure – Way out of tax evasion is through voluntary disclosure

April 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

While the number of voluntary declarations for tax evasion is easing off, the same cannot be said of the efforts being put into the fight against tax evasion. It remains possible for tax evaders to submit a voluntary declaration leading to immunity.

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EU cartel authorities examining possible e-commerce competition violations

April 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The European Union’s cartel authorities are targeting e-commerce more aggressively and are carrying out three investigations looking into whether violations of European competition law have occurred.

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BAG on discrimination under Germany’s General Equal Treatment Act

April 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Not every instance of disabled employees being treated differently constitutes illegal discrimination, as demonstrated by a ruling of the Bundesarbeitsgericht (BAG), Germany’s Federal Labour Court, from January 26, 2017 (Az.: 8 AZR 736/15).

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GRP Rainer RechtsanwÀlte: Assessing risk of liability and D&O insurance

April 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

By taking out a D&O insurance policy, managers are attempting to reduce their risk of private liability. The risks and the scope of the policy ought to be analysed and reviewed in advance.

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GRP Rainer RechtsanwÀlte: Experience with liability claims against executive bodies

April 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Executive boards, supervisory boards and managing directors are subject to a substantial risk of personal liability. With the help of suitable legal advice and experience, it is possible to reduce this risk.

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OLG Hamm: Penalty for unlawful advertising via email

March 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Advertising is subject to restrictions, and anyone who oversteps these may be faced with severe penalties. This also applies to unlawful advertising via email, as demonstrated by a ruling of the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Hamm [Higher Regional Court of Hamm].

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Bundeskartellamt imposes fines for vertical price-fixing agreements

March 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The Bundeskartellamt, Germany’s Federal Cartel Office, has concluded the final proceedings in relation to price fixing in the food industry and, according to its own statements, imposed fines totalling around 18 million euros.

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Bundeskartellamt imposes fines for illegal price fixing

March 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Manufacturers are allowed to make non-binding price recommendation, but they cannot issue merchants with price specifications. Otherwise, they are in breach of antitrust law.

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Exceptional notice terminating the employment relationship for good cause

March 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Employers that wish to issue an employee with exceptional notice of dismissal need to be able to cite good cause for this action. Otherwise, the notice of dismissal is generally ineffective.

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Truck cartel: First damages claims to prescribe could do so as early as 2017

March 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Those affected by the truck cartel are entitled to claim damages, but the limitation periods need to be observed. The first claims to become time-barred could do so as early as January of 2017.

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GRP Rainer RechtsanwÀlte: Reviewing franchise agreements

March 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The key arrangements between franchisees and franchisors are set out in the franchise agreement. For this reason, both parties ought to closely scrutinize this document.

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Family foundations and business succession

March 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Establishing a family foundation can be a sensible means of preventing disputes from arising among heirs as well as resolving the issue of business succession.

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BGH on liability of managing directors if social security contributions not paid

March 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The managing director of a GmbH, a type of German private limited company, is responsible for ensuring proper payment of social security contributions. Failure to fulfil his duties can render him personally liable.

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OLG Dresden: Representation or accompaniment at general meeting of shareholders

March 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

GmbH shareholders can be represented by a proxy at the general meeting of the shareholders. In addition, it may be permissible according to a ruling of the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Dresden [Higher Regional Court of Dresden] for them to bring an adviser along to the meeting.

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BAG on effectiveness of ordinary notice of dismissal issued as an alternative

March 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The Bundesarbeitsgericht (BAG), Germany’s Federal Labour Court, has ruled that an ordinary notice of dismissal was effective despite a lack of information regarding when the employment relationship was to come to an end (Az.: 6 AZR 782/14).

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BAG: Exceptional notice of dismissal for breach of trust effective

March 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Even if the financial loss suffered due to an employee’s breach of duty is minor, the resulting breach of trust can justify exceptional notice of dismissal.

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BAG on employer’s default of acceptance

March 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

A ruling of the Bundesarbeitsgericht (BAG), Germany’s Federal Labour Court, shows that if an employee is at fault for not being able to carry out his work as prescribed in the employment contract, his right to payment of wages may lapse.

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OLG Karlsruhe: “Lightly salted” not permissible in advertising

March 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Advertising for packet soup for children featuring the statement “mild gezalsen” (lightly salted) is contrary to the Health Claims Regulation and therefore unlawful. That was the verdict of the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Karlsruhe [Higher Regional Court of Karlsruhe] (Az.: 4 U 218/15).

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OLG Frankfurt: The term “centre” potentially misleading

March 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

A ruling of the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Frankfurt [Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt] shows that difficulties can arise if there is a desire at a later date to change the name of a company which was taken over and its name carried forward (Az.: 20 W 411/12).

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Misleading advertising: Exclusive must mean exclusive

March 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

If something is advertised as exclusive then it ought to remain exclusive. A ruling of the Landgericht (LG) Hamburg [Regional Court of Hamburg] demonstrates that a lack of touted exclusivity can render the advertising misleading.

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LAG Köln: Informally admonishing an employee not necessary before issuing formal written warning

March 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

An employer is allowed to issue a formal written warning without having previously informally rebuked an employee for his misconduct. That was the verdict of the Landesarbeitsgericht (LAG) Köln [Regional Labour Court of Cologne] (Az.: 12 Sa 381/16).

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Expiration of holiday entitlements: BAG appeals to European Court of Justice

February 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

It is common for disputes to arise under employment law concerning compensation in lieu of holiday entitlements. According to German law, holidays that have not been taken expire at the end of the reference period.

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BGH: Notarized agreement decisive, not the draft agreement

February 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

In cases of doubt, it is the notarized agreement that counts and not a draft contract whose content deviates from the former. That was the verdict of the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), Germany’s Federal Supreme Court, in its judgment of June 10, 2016 (Az.: V ZR 295/14). 

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GRP Rainer receives awards for best law firm in the fields of commercial law and tax law

February 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

GRP Rainer RechtsanwÀlte has once again received awards, this time for the year 2017, from Corporate INTL for best law firm in the fields of commercial law and tax law in Germany.

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CJEU: Labour leasing through members of a sisterhood

February 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The members of a sisterhood may also fall within the ambit of the regulations pertaining to what is termed labour leasing or temporary employment. That was the verdict of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in its ruling of November 17, 2016 (Az.: C-216/15).

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LAG Rheinland-Pfalz: Dismissal with immediate effect for causing serious offence valid

February 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Seriously offending one’s work colleagues constitutes good cause justifying exceptional notice of dismissal with immediate effect. That was the verdict of the Landesarbeitsgericht (LAG) Rheinland-Pfalz [Regional Labour Court of Rhineland-Palatinate] (Az.: 4 Sa 350/15).

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Company officially removed from commercial register due to lack of assets

February 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

It is possible for the removal of a company from the commercial register to be instigated by the competent authorities due to a lack of assets. Those who wish to oppose such a move should act immediately. 

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GRP Rainer RechtsanwÀlte: Experience dealing with liability claims against GmbH managing directors

February 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The managing director of a GmbH, a type of German private limited company, is exposed to considerable liability risks. Legal advice ought to be urgently sought to minimize these risks as well as in the event of something happening that raises the issue of liability.

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Removal and dismissal of a GmbH managing director

February 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

If a GmbH, a type of German private limited company, wishes to part company with a manging director, simply dismissing him won’t cut it. The managing director also needs to be removed from his post.

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BGH: GbR can terminate tenancy agreement if there is a need to make personal use of the property

February 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

A Gesellschaft bĂŒrgerlichen Rechts (GbR) [a type of German partnership constituted under civil law] is able to terminate a tenancy agreement if it needs to make use of the property itself. That was the verdict of the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), Germany’s Federal Supreme Court, in its judgment of December 14, 2016 (Az.: VIII ZR 232/15).

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Exemption from liability for GmbH managing directors

February 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The managing director of a Gesellschaft mit beschrÀnkter Haftung (GmbH), a type of private limited company in Germany, may be faced with liability claims if he breaches his obligations. That being said, it is possible under certain circumstances for him to request a full exemption from liability.

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Business succession post inheritance tax reform

February 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

It was a long time coming before the reforms to inheritance tax became finalized. The legislation has since come into force with retrospective effect as of July 1, 2016. The reforms have ramifications for company heirs.

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BAG: Fixed-term employment contract pursuant to court settlement

February 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Even in the case of fixed-term employment contracts concluded pursuant to a court settlement, employers need to ensure that the fixed term is effective. That was the verdict of the Bundesarbeitsgericht (BAG), Germany’s Federal Labour Court.

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CJEU to rule on holiday entitlement following employee’s death

February 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Whether an employee’s holiday entitlement continues to exist after his death is still disputed. The Bundesarbeitsgericht (BAG), Germany’s Federal Labour Court, has since turned to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) for clarity on the matter.

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Competition law: Mandatory information in real estate advertising

February 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Anyone who publishes real estate adverts without the requisite information relating to the energy performance certificate is in breach of competition law. That was the verdict of the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Hamm [Higher Regional Court of Hamm].

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BAG: Changes to employment contract

February 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

If an employer wishes to make changes to assurances made in relation to occupational pension schemes and employees add their signatures to a relevant amendment in the employment contract, then they are subsequently bound by this. 

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Severance package for GmbH shareholder

February 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

If a shareholder wishes to withdraw from a Gesellschaft mit beschrÀnkter Haftung (GmbH), a type of German private limited company, this can give rise to disputes among the shareholders regarding the amount of any severance payment. This was the case, for instance, in proceedings before the Kammergericht (KG) Berlin (Higher Regional Court of Berlin).

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Exceptional notice of dismissal for working hours fraud

February 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Fraud relating to one’s working hours may constitute good cause justifying exceptional notice of dismissal. Having said that, a ruling of the Landesarbeitsgericht (LAG) Hamm [Regional Labour Court of Hamm] shows that for this to happen there needs to be admissible evidence to this end.

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Eye-catching advertising featuring misleading guarantee promises

February 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Advertising featuring a guarantee can be misleading if the guarantee promise is linked to conditions that are not clearly visible to consumers. That was the verdict of the Landgericht (LG) Frankfurt [Regional Court of Frankfurt].

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GmbH and establishing a supervisory board later on

February 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

If a GmbH decides to set up a supervisory board at a later stage, this needs to be certified by a notary and entered into the commercial register even if there is an opening clause.

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Bundeskartellamt investigates ticket allocation for international football fixtures

February 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The Deutscher Fußballbund (DFB) [German Football Association] continues to attract the attention of the Bundeskartellamt, Germany’s Federal Cartel Office. This is due to the practice of linking the allocation of tickets to membership of the fan club for Germany’s national football team.

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GRP Rainer RechtsanwÀlte: Experience in enforcing antitrust claims

January 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Parties that have suffered loss as a result of the truck cartel are entitled to compensation. The law firm GRP Rainer RechtsanwÀlte has the requisite experience in enforcing these kinds of claims.

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BGH: Buyer can refuse to pay purchase price until defects have been remedied

January 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

If the object of a sale exhibits defects, the buyer can refuse to pay the purchase price until the defects have been removed. That was the verdict of the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), Germany’s Federal Court of Justice, in its ruling of October 26, 2016 (Az.: VIII ZR 211/15).

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Dismissal with the option of altered conditions of employment: Clarity of revised offer

January 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

A notice of dismissal with the option of altered conditions of employment terminates the employment relationship as constituted based on the conditions in place up until that point in time.  At the same time, an offer is made to continue the employment relationship with revised conditions.

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OLG MĂŒnchen on a GmbH shareholder’s fiduciary duty

January 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Even the best of families has arguments, and the same is true for shareholders of a GmbH. Having said that, a ruling of the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) MĂŒnchen [Higher Regional Court of Munich] demonstrates that a shareholder’s fiduciary duty does not apply in every case.

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Labour leasing: Changes to temporary employment

January 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The legal provisions pertaining to labour leasing, also referred to as temporary employment or subcontracted work, are being shaken up.

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BAG: Staff appraisals when unfit for work – There are exceptions

January 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The Bundesarbeitsgericht (BAG), Germany’s Federal Labour Court, has clarified that sick workers generally do not have to appear at company appraisal meetings for staff. However, the Court also held that there are exceptions to this.

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BAG: Dismissal with immediate effect for drug use justified

January 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

A professional driver taking drugs may justify exceptional notice of dismissal with immediate effect. That was the verdict of the Bundesarbeitsgericht (BAG), Germany’s Federal Labour Court, in its ruling of October 20, 2016 (Az.: 6 AZR 471/15).

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BAG on continued payment of wages in the event of illness

January 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

If an employee falls ill and is unfit for work, he has a right to continue to be remunerated for six weeks. Should he become sick again during this period, this does not result in said timeframe being extended. 

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Remedying defects and shifting the burden of proof: BGH bolsters buyers’ rights

January 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), Germany’s Federal Court of Justice, has strengthened the rights of buyers and consumers in two recent rulings in the event of defects occurring in the object of sale (Az.: VIII ZR 103/15 and VIII ZR 240/15).

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Damages claims against truck cartel: Be mindful of statute of limitations

January 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

In light of the European Commission’s ruling, those that have suffered as a result of the truck cartel are now able to claim damages. That being said, it is important for them to not lose sight of the statute of limitations.

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CJEU: Bogus applicants cannot invoke anti-discrimination legislation

January 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Bogus applicants who do not actually intend to take up a post cannot subsequently invoke anti-discrimination legislation. This comes from a ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

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BAG on collective redundancies and consultation process

January 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

If the works council no longer indicates a willingness to continue negotiations to prevent collective redundancies, the employer can consider the consultation process pursuant to sec 17(2) of the KĂŒndigungsschutzgesetz (KSchG) [German Employment Protection Act] to have come to an end.

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BGH: Asking to pay in instalments not a clear indication of insolvency

January 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

If a debtor asks to pay in instalments, the creditor should not necessarily infer from this that the former has stopped making payments. That was the verdict of the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), Germany’s Federal Court of Justice.

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Truck cartel: Be mindful of statute of limitations for damages claims

January 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The parties to the truck cartel illegally fixed prices, among other things, over a period of 14 years. Those who have suffered because of the cartel can assert claims for damages.

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Asserting claims from D&O insurance policy

January 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

It is no longer a rarity for companies to want to hold their boards of directors and supervisory boards liable. It is often the case that claims are asserted arising from D&O insurance. 

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CJEU confirms ban on cosmetic testing on animals

January 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

In its ruling of September 21, 2016, the Court of Justice of the European Union confirmed that cosmetics which were produced with the help of animal testing are subject to a widespread sales ban within the EU (Az.: C-592/14).

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GRP Rainer RechtsanwÀlte: Experience in choosing the right corporate form

January 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Choosing the right corporate form can contribute significantly to the success of a business. GRP Rainer RechtsanwÀlte has the requisite experience in setting up companies.

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Reducing interest burden – Loan withdrawal

January 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Interest rates for building loans were considerably higher between 2010 and 2013 than they are today. Consequently, it may well be worthwhile withdrawing from real estate loans that were taken out after June 10, 2010.

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Large numbers of employees phoning in sick – Employer’s options

January 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

If a lot of employees at a company fall ill at the same time, this may be problematic for the business. If, however, the employees are only pretending to be too sick to work, this could have employment-related consequences for them.

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Collective agreements for social security funds in construction sector no longer generally binding

January 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The declarations from the years 2008, 2010 and 2014 concerning the universal application of the collective agreement on social security procedures in the construction sector have been overturned and declared invalid by the Bundesarbeitsgericht (BAG), Germany’s Federal Labour Court.

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CJEU on applying fixed terms to employment contracts

January 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

If an employer wishes to apply a fixed term to an employment contract, it needs to have an objective justification or the fixed term cannot exceed two years. A recent ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) underlines this.

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LAG Hamm on employing workers from subsidiary firm at weekends

January 2017. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

It is not necessary for an employer to obtain the consent of the works council in order to employ workers from a subsidiary company at weekends for the purposes of performing specific work. That was the verdict of the Landesarbeitsgericht (LAG) Hamm [Higher Regional Court of Hamm] (13 TaBVGa 8/16).

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OLG NĂŒrnberg: Flawed guidance on right of withdrawal in loans after June 10, 2010

December 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

As demonstrated by a ruling of the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) NĂŒrnberg [Higher Regional Court of Nuremberg], flawed guidance on the right of withdrawal can also be found in real estate loans concluded after June 10, 2010. That means that it is possible to withdraw from these.

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Negative will: Clear arrangements should also be made when excluding someone from inheritance

December 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

A will not only provides the opportunity to designate heirs but also to exclude people from the inheritance. It is not necessary to mention the heirs in a so-called “Negativtestament” (negative will).

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BGH: Merely advertising bootlegs is enough to constitute a copyright infringement

December 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Simply advertising counterfeit products of an artist is sufficient to constitute an infringement of his rights under copyright law. This comes from a ruling of the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court (Az.: I ZR 88/13).

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BGH bolsters copyright law

December 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

A creator’s exclusive right of distribution encompasses the right to put up the original work and its replicates for sale and advertise these.

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BGH: Advertising featuring incorrect reference price is misleading

December 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Businesses are not allowed to promise consumers savings when advertising discounts if these savings do not actually exist. That was the verdict of the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), Germany’s Federal Court of Justice (Az.: I ZR 31/15). 

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Get-out-of-jail-free card for real estate loans from June 11, 2010

December 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Banks and savings banks continued to make use of flawed guidance on the right of withdrawal with respect to loan agreements even after June 10, 2010. In many cases, it remains possible to withdraw from these loans.

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Tax oases have run their course – Submit voluntary declaration for tax evasion on time

December 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Tax oases have had their day. Anyone who still has untaxed income in foreign accounts ought to give thought in due course to submitting a voluntary declaration.

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OLG Hamburg: Trademark law on magazine with same name as novels

December 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

If a word mark is registered in relation to romance novels, among other things, a magazine bearing the same name does not necessarily infringe the rights protected under trademark law. That was the verdict of the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Hamburg [Higher Regional Court of Hamburg].

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Truck cartel: Take action and demand compensation

December 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Five truck manufacturers illegally fixed the prices of vehicles, among other things, over a period of 14 years. The financial loss incurred by forwarders and other transportation companies is enormous. 

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Purchasing property: Rescinding purchase agreement despite exclusion of warranty

December 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Old houses often have quirks that are not immediately noticeable. If the seller of one such property fails to fulfil his obligations to disclose and provide information, it may be possible to rescind the purchase agreement.

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GRP Rainer RechtsanwÀlte: Experience in implementing compliance systems

December 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Compliance systems ought to be effectively tailored to the needs of a business. GRP Rainer RechtsanwÀlte is experienced in implementing compliance programmes.

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If it says raspberry on the outside, it should also be raspberry on the inside – Misleading consum

December 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Food products which give the impression that they contain ingredients when this is not in fact the case are misleading to consumers. That was the verdict of the Landgericht (LG) Amberg [Regional Court of Amberg] (Az.: 41 HKO 497/16). 

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LAG Baden-WĂŒrttemberg: Dismissal for causing serious offence

December 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Anybody who insults their employer or superiors on social networks ought to anticipate the possibility of being dismissed without notice. Having said that, this is ultimately decided on a case-by-case basis.

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GRP Rainer RechtsanwÀlte: Assessing damages claims against truck cartel

December 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Aggrieved parties to the truck cartel are entitled to claim damages. The law firm GRP Rainer RechtsanwÀlte is reviewing the extent of these claims against the cartel members.

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Employment law: New rules for limitation periods from October 1, 2016

November 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Employers are going to have to adjust to changes in employment contracts. Going forward, claims arising from exclusion clauses shall only be required to be in text form instead of written form.

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BAG: Fixed-term employment contract without objective justification

November 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

It is possible even in the absence of an objective reason to apply a fixed term of two years to an employment contract if there had previously been work-from-home arrangements. That was the verdict of the Bundesarbeitsgericht (BAG), Germany’s Federal Labour Court.

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BAG on interest on capital from occupational pension

November 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

If it has been agreed that capital from an occupational pension scheme can be paid out in several instalments, the employer can take its bearings from the interest rates of secure forms of investment.

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BGH: Director of limited company subject to similar liability as GmbH managing director

November 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

As in the case of a managing director of a German Gesellschaft mit beschrÀnkter Haftung (GmbH) [private limited company], the director of a limited company (ltd.) can also be liable if payments are made after the company becomes insolvent.

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Mortgage rates continue to fall – Get-out-of-jail-free card for loans from June 10, 2010 onwards

November 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Mortgage rates continue to fall. In view of this trend, withdrawing from a real estate loan that was taken out from June 10, 2010 onwards could be a financially attractive proposition.

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BGH: Claim to augment compulsory portion where real estate has been gifted

November 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Gifts made more than ten years ago will no longer be taken into account in inheritance cases when calculating the compulsory portion. Having said that, there are exceptions which render this time limit inapplicable. 

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OLG MĂŒnchen: The name of a beer is not automatically an indication of geographical origin

November 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

A lot of breweries name their beer after the location where it is brewed. As demonstrated by a ruling of the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) MĂŒnchen [Higher Regional Court of Munich], the name is not always an indication of geographical origin as well.

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OLG Koblenz: Duty of beneficiary of compulsory portion to provide information to heir

November 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Calculating the compulsory portion is often a matter of contention when it comes to the distribution of an estate. The Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Koblenz has ruled that the beneficiary of a compulsory portion is also obligated to provide the heir with information.

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OLG MĂŒnchen on validity of a nuncupative will

November 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

When faced with the prospect of imminent death, the testator can prepare a nuncupative will provided certain conditions are met. For this to happen, he needs to still be capable of making a will and three witnesses have to be present.

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Dismissal following remarriage ends up before CJEU

November 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Does the remarriage of a chief physician at a Catholic hospital justify his dismissal? This issue will have to be clarified by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in the near future.

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Arbeitsgericht DĂŒsseldorf: Dismissal without notice effective following car chase

November 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Dismissal on grounds of conduct is also a possibility in the event that an employee behaves in a way outside of the workplace that is unacceptable to his employer.

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Bundeskartellamt imposes fines totaling millions of euros against television studios

November 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The Bundeskartellamt, Germany’s federal cartel office, has imposed a fine amounting to millions of euros against three television studios for unlawfully exchanging important information. It could not be proven that illegal agreements existed.

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GRP Rainer RechtsanwÀlte: Experience in setting up companies

November 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Different types of company present businesses with advantages as well as disadvantages, which is why it is particularly important during the start-up phase to think carefully when choosing the right corporate form.

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GRP Rainer LLP: Assessing a managing director’s risk of liability

November 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Managing directors can end up being personally liable for breaches of obligations. GRP Rainer advises managing directors, assesses their risk and takes appropriate action.

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OLG Hamm: Misleading advertising featuring teaser offers

November 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Anyone who denotes goods as available for delivery despite the fact that they are sold out is violating competition law. This comes from a ruling of the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Hamm [Higher Regional Court of Hamm] (4 U 69/15).

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CJEU: Marketplace operators liable for counterfeiting and plagiarism

November 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Product counterfeiting is responsible for enormous economic damage. According to a ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), legal action can be taken against marketplace operators who allocate selling areas for counterfeit products.  

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OLG Koblenz on doctor-patient confidentiality in inheritance disputes

November 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

In cases involving inheritance disputes, it is possible for the testator’s doctor to be released from doctor-patient confidentiality. That was the verdict of the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Koblenz [Higher Regional Court of Koblenz] (Az.: 12 W 538/15).

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Inheritance tax reforms becoming an impasse – Making arrangements for business succession

November 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The reforms to inheritance tax should have been cut and dried long ago. The Bundesverfassungsgericht (BVerfG), Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court, is now once again exerting pressure because of the failure to reach an agreement on policy.

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OLG MĂŒnchen: Co-heirs must answer requests for information with utmost care

November 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Requests for information directed at a co-heir need to be answered with utmost care. That was the verdict of the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) MĂŒnchen [Higher Regional Court of Munich] in its ruling of February 17, 2016 (Az.: 20 U 126/15).

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BAG: Damages for breach of collectively agreed duty not to engage in industrial action

October 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

If a trade union breaches its duty not to engage in industrial action as stipulated in a collective agreement, it renders itself liable to pay damages vis-à-vis its contractual partner. This follows from a recent ruling of the Bundesarbeitsgericht (BAG), Germany’s Federal Labour Court.

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BGH: Redeeming competitors’ discount vouchers not a violation of competition law

October 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), Germany’s Federal Court of Justice, has ruled that if a company redeems competitor’s discount vouchers this is generally not considered to be unfair and does not constitute a violation of competition law (Az.: I ZR 137/15).

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LAG Rheinland-Pfalz on termination and dissolution of employment relationship

October 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

When workplace disputes arise, one needs to be mindful in choosing how to respond. Threatening to involve the press, for instance, can result in one’s employment contract being terminated.

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BAG on payment of bonuses pursuant to reasonable discretion

October 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Where an employer decides on variable components of employees’ remuneration, e.g. bonus payments, while exercising reasonable discretion, this decision may be the subject of a full judicial review.  

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Piracy and trademark violations on the rise

October 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Piracy and copyright infringements are on the increase. As such, it is all the more important to take appropriate measures to protect one’s trademarks and intellectual property.

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Trademark law: No distinction made between “Mac” and “Mc”

October 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

No distinction is made between “Mac” and “Mc” for the purposes of trademark law. The General Court of the European Union (EGC) ruled that whether the syllable includes an “a” is of no great significance (Az.: T-518/13).

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Lies in CV – Challenge to and termination of employment contract without notice

October 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Anyone who includes false statements in their application documents risks having their employment contract terminated with immediate effect.

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Record fine for truck cartel – Enforcing damages claims

October 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Members of the truck cartel will have to pay a fine totaling approx. 2.9 billion euros, and things could become even more expensive if damages claims brought by clients follow.

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Inheritance tax reform: Bundesrat blocks bill

October 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The inheritance tax reforms have still yet to be finalized. With the Bundesrat, the upper house of the German parliament, having blocked the draft legislation on July 8, no further decision is expected to be taken before the autumn.

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BGH: “unverzĂŒglich” is an acceptable deadline for taking remedial action

October 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

If a purchased item is defective, the buyer can demand that subsequent remedial action be taken. According to a recent ruling of the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), Germany’s Federal Court of Justice, “unverzĂŒglich” (immediately) is an acceptable deadline in relation to this remedial work.

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BGH rules on trademark dispute: Red colour mark won’t be cancelled

October 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

A shade of the colour red used by a German bank shall continue to enjoy trademark protection. That was the verdict of the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), Germany’s Federal Court of Justice, in its ruling of July 21, 2016 (Az. I ZB 52/15).

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Contract of inheritance has strong binding effect

October 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Anyone who does not wish to be subject to the rules of intestate succession can set out arrangements for their estate in a will or contract of inheritance. A contract of inheritance has a strong binding effect.

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BGH: Possible to withdraw from brokerage contracts concluded by email

October 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

It has since become common for contracts with real estate brokers to be concluded online or by email. It is possible to withdraw from these contracts provided the statutory notice periods are observed.

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OLG DĂŒsseldorf: Boost for consumers withdrawing from loans

October 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Guidance on the right of withdrawal featuring the footnote “Nicht fĂŒr FernabsatzgeschĂ€fte” (not for long-distance transactions) is ineffective. The Oberlandesgericht (OLG) DĂŒsseldorf [Higher Regional Court of DĂŒsseldorf] ruled that it is possible to effectively withdraw from loans accompanied by this kind of guidance.

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Loan withdrawal: BGH pulls rug out from under banks and savings banks

October 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

According to a ruling of the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), Germany’s Federal Court of Justice, from July 12, it is possible to effectively withdraw from loan agreements featuring the wording that the withdrawal period shall commence “frĂŒhestens mit dem Erhalt dieser Belehrung” [at the earliest upon receipt of this guidance] (Az.: XI ZR 564/15).

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OLG Köln: Advertising risks and side effects of pharmaceuticals

October 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

As demonstrated by a ruling of the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Köln [Higher Regional Court of Cologne] from July 1, 2016, associated risks and side effects need to be taken into account not only in relation to medications but also advertising for pharmaceuticals (Az.: 6 U 151/15).

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Wills a good idea even in relation to childless marriages

October 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Even if a married couple has no children, this does not mean that the spouses automatically become sole heirs. That can only be achieved by means of a will or contract of inheritance.

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LAG MĂŒnchen: No automatic transfer of holiday entitlements

October 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Even in the event of dismissal, the employer is not obliged to grant any remaining holiday entitlement of its own accord. The entitlement lapses if the employee fails to make an appropriate formal request.

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BGH: Lack of manufacturer’s warranty when purchasing a car may represent a material defect

October 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The lack of a manufacturer’s warranty when purchasing a used vehicle may represent a material defect that justifies the buyer rescinding the purchase agreement. That was the verdict of the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), Germany’s Federal Court of Justice.

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OLG Rostock: Application of Pflichtteilsstrafklausel in a will

October 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

If, after becoming aware of what is termed a “Pflichtteilsstrafklausel” (compulsory portion penalty clause), an heir refrains from asserting his right to a compulsory portion of the estate, he will not be limited to this compulsory portion in the event of succession.

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Commercial law of tenancy and lease: Significant changes require written form

October 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Proper written form should always be observed when it comes to commercial tenancy and lease agreements. Oral agreements may not be effective in cases where there is doubt, as demonstrated by a recent ruling of the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Dresden [Higher Regional Court of Dresden].

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Inheritance: Gifts during testator’s lifetime to be considered for purposes of compulsory portion

September 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

A testator who makes a gift during his lifetime may give rise to tax advantages. However, any gifts need to be taken into account when calculating the compulsory portion.

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D&O insurance: BGH bolsters policyholders‘ rights

September 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Claims arising from a D&O (Directors & Officers) insurance policy can be ceded to the employer. That was the verdict of the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), Germany’s Federal Court of Justice, in its ruling of April 13, 2016 (Az.: IV ZR 304/13).

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BGH: Liability of managing director in case of unpaid social security contributions

September 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The managing director is responsible for ensuring proper payment of social security contributions. If these are not paid, he could potentially be personally liable for this.

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Cartel Office imposes high fines in response to illegal agreements

September 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Infringements of competition law or antitrust law can prove to be costly for businesses. That much is clear from the annual report for 2015 that was recently published by the Bundeskartellamt, Germany’s Federal Cartel Office. 

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FG MĂŒnchen: Prerequisites for exemption from inheritance tax in case of family home

September 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Family homes can only be passed on to one’s spouse or children free of tax if certain conditions are met. That was the verdict of the Finanzgericht (FG) MĂŒnchen [Fiscal Court of Munich] in one of its recent rulings.

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Extraordinary dismissal under employment law

September 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Employment law provides for the possibility of extraordinary dismissal without prior notice. However, this can only be effective if there is good cause justifying this course of action.

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Inheritance tax reform: More stringent requirements for company heirs

September 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Germany’s federal government has settled on reforms to inheritance tax. Company heirs can continue to expect favourable tax treatment in the context of business succession.

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Employment law – Formal warnings

September 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

In order to effectively issue ordinary notice of dismissal for reasons relating to conduct, it is often necessary for the employer to have previously issued a formal written warning.

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GmbH managing director: Right to remuneration despite being removed from post

September 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

It is important to bear in mind when removing a managing director from his post for good cause that an employment relationship exists as well. These two legal relationships ought to be considered separately.

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Truck cartel: Manufacturers may be faced with record penalty

September 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Several truck manufacturers should anticipate an antitrust fine that is likely to be higher than any previous fine to date in the EU. They stand accused, among other things, of price-fixing.

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The pitfalls of Berliner Testaments

September 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

A Berliner Testament (Berlin will) is a widespread form of will in which spouses mutually appoint each other as sole heirs. While this spousal will offers many advantages, it also entails potential disadvantages.

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Bundesverfassungsgericht: Sampling is permissible under certain circumstances

September 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The Bundesverfassungsgericht, Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court, recently had to grapple with the issue of whether greater value ought to be attached to artistic freedom or copyright law in a given case. In its judgment of May 31, the Court chose to bolster artistic freedom (Az. 1 BvR 1585/13).

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Avoid mistakes in will

September 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Anyone who does not wish to have their estate distributed in accordance with the rules of intestate succession needs to prepare a will or contract of inheritance. In order to prevent disputes from occurring, it is important that the testator’s final wishes be clear.

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OLG ThĂŒringen: Misleading advertising through use of a manufacturer’s logo

September 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

If a car dealership advertises with a manufacturer’s logo without being an authorized dealer, this may constitute misleading advertising vis-à-vis consumers and violate competition law.

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Get-out-of-jail-free card still an option

September 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The right of withdrawal for real estate loans concluded between November 2, 2002 and June 10, 2010 is set to come to an end on June 21, 2016. In the case of more recent agreements, withdrawal remains an option.

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Loan withdrawal to come before BGH again

September 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

While the right of withdrawal for real estate loans concluded between 2002 and 2010 is set to come to an end on June 21, the courts will continue to grapple with the subject of withdrawal beyond this date.

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Mergers and acquisitions on the rise again

September 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The favourable environment is contributing to the increasing significance of M&A transactions among German businesses again, with mergers and acquisitions supposed to be a way for companies to strengthen their market position.

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GRP Rainer LLP: Assessing the appropriate legal form

September 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

One important issue when establishing a company is choosing the appropriate legal form. Lawyers at GRP Rainer are able to assess the respective pros and cons as well as advise businesses when reaching their decision.

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Still possible to withdraw from loans after June 21

September 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

It is still possible to withdraw from a large number of real estate loans. The end of the withdrawal period only concerns loans that were concluded between November 2002 and June 2010.

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Withdrawal: Save several thousand euros at the last minute

September 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Consumers could potentially save several thousand euros at the last minute by withdrawing from their loans. However, the withdrawal period is set to come to an end at exactly 12am on June 21.

Read more…

Last chance to use get-out-of-jail-free card – Loan withdrawal possible until June 20

August 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Anyone who still wants to make timely use of their get-out-of-jail-free card before June 20, 2016 and withdraw from a loan can benefit from low interest rates or reclaim an early repayment penalty

Read more…

Inheritance tax where estate includes real estate

August 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

In succession cases involving real estate, it is particularly important to pay attention to details when it comes to inheritance tax. Those who are not careful may be asked to pay up by the exchequer.

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Tougher approach against tax evasion – Submit voluntary declaration on time

August 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Germany’s federal and regional state governments want to step up their measures once again in the fight against tax evasion and hang out tax havens to dry. Voluntary disclosure leading to immunity represents a way out for tax evaders.

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Agrofinanz GmbH: Creditors able to lodge claims until June 21

August 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

On May 24, 2016, the Amtsgericht Kleve (Local Court of Kleve) initiated regular insolvency proceedings in relation to Agrofinanz GmbH on account of insolvency and over-indebtedness (Az.: 32 IN 95/15).

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Succession in patchwork families

August 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

While what are sometimes referred to as patchwork or blended families are no longer unusual today, succession law continues to lag behind social change. For this reason, those concerned ought to give thought to preparing a will early on.

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Neitzel & Cie.: MS Cornelia sold from insolvent ship fund

August 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Since the beginning of the year, the MS Conny Schifffahrtsgesellschaft mbH & Co. KG (a shipping company) has been the subject of insolvency proceedings (Az.: 504 IN 16/15). The fund vessel MS Cornelia now appears to have been sold.

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Cartel Office ensures greater competition in rail sector

August 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The German railway company Deutsche Bahn must allow for more competition. The Bundeskartellamt, Germany’s Federal Cartel Office, found that the company had abused its dominant market position with respect to the sale of rail tickets.

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LAG Sachsen-Anhalt on video surveillance at the workplace

August 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Video surveillance at the workplace does not inevitably give rise to claims for damages. That was the verdict of the Landesarbeitsgericht (LAG) Sachsen-Anhalt [Regional Labour Court of Saxony-Anhalt] (Az.: 6 Sa 301/14).

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Final stretch for loan withdrawal

August 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Those who still want to withdraw from real estate loans concluded between 2002 and 2010 should take action now while the right of withdrawal is on its last legs. This get-out-of-jail-free card is set to lapse shortly.

Read more…

Tax evasion: Voluntary declaration requires professional assistance

August 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The legislature has deliberately maintained the option for tax dodgers to return to a state of tax compliance by means of voluntary disclosure leading to immunity. Professional assistance is vital in this context.

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GRP Rainer LLP: Cologne office relocating to GĂŒrzenich-Quartier

August 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Modern and spacious: That is how GRP Rainer’s new office in central Cologne’s GĂŒrzenich-Quartier presents itself.

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Loan withdrawal in case of linked transaction: BGH ruling fails to materialize

August 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), Germany’s Federal Court of Justice, was supposed to rule on May 31 on withdrawing from a loan in the case of a so-called “verbundenes GeschĂ€ft” (linked transaction). This will no longer happen because the bank has withdrawn its appeal.

Read more…

Dismissal without notice for private use of work computer effective

August 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Unauthorized private use of a work computer can justify dismissal without notice. That was the verdict of the Landesarbeitsgericht (LAG) Sachsen-Anhalt [Regional Labour Court of Saxony-Anhalt] in its ruling of May 26, 2016.

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Wills: Intention to prepare a will and testamentary capacity prerequisites

August 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

A valid will presupposes a clearly discernible intention to draw up a will and testamentary capacity. These elements are necessary if the testator’s testamentary dispositions are to be implemented.

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Illegal price-fixing agreements for beer: Bundeskartellamt imposes high fines

August 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The Bundeskartellamt, Germany’s Federal Cartel Office, has imposed fines totalling 242 million euros due to illegal price-fixing agreements between manufacturers and trading companies.

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Estate includes property: No exemption from inheritance tax in the event of demolition

August 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Properties in an estate can often become a problem, not only because this might lead to disputes in cases involving multiple heirs, but also in connection with inheritance tax. 

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OLG Karlsuhe: Insurance intermediaries subject to strict documentation requirements and duty to info

August 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

“Nettopolicen” are insurance policies with respect to which the premiums do not include commission for brokering the insurance contract. When concluding these insurance policies, insurance intermediaries have to point out and document that the separate payment arrangements continue to apply even if the policies are cancelled.

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Loan withdrawal in the case of linked transactions – BGH hearing on May 31

August 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Loans can be tied to a specific purpose when they are issued. A case involving withdrawal from a loan tied to what is termed a “verbundenes GeschĂ€ft” [linked transaction] will come before the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), Germany’s Federal Court of Justice, on May 31 (Az.: XI ZR 511/15).

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Loan withdrawal: OLG Frankfurt once again on side of consumers

August 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Just before the so-called “ewiges Widerrufsrecht” [perpetual right of withdrawal] was set to lapse, a ruling of the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Frankfurt [Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt] has given this get-out-of-jail-free card renewed momentum. In doing so, the OLG has once again aligned itself with consumers.

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LG Magdeburg: Consumers misled by false indication of origin

August 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

If certificates or marks of origin are used for promotional purposes but the products are produced elsewhere, this may constitute an infringement of competition law. That was the verdict of the Landgericht (LG) Magdeburg [Regional Court of Magdeburg].

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LAG Niedersachsen: Changes at workplace do not automatically equate to bullying

August 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Official instructions from one’s superior do not automatically amount to bullying. That was the verdict of the Landesarbeitsgericht Niedersachsen (Regional Labour Court of Lower Saxony) on February 3, 2016 (Az.: 2 Sa 441/15).

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BAG: Termination effective despite claim for parental leave

August 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

If an employee fails to observe the required written form when claiming parental leave, the employer is entitled to dismiss the employee. That was the verdict of the Bundesarbeitsgericht (BAG), Germany’s Federal Labour Court (Az.: 9 AZR 145/15).

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Fixed-term employment contract: Assignment should be precisely defined

August 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

When it comes to fixed-term employment contracts linked to a specific assignment, employers need to take care and precisely define when the assignment in question has been fulfilled. Temporary employment can otherwise turn into a permanent position.

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Post-divorce: Geschiedenen-Testament

July 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Divorce results in any mutual inheritance claims between former spouses lapsing. However, it is possible for these to indirectly arise again. A “Geschiedenen-Testament” (divorcee will) can then prove to be useful.

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Compliance for the protection of the company

July 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Efficient compliance management systems (CMS) exist primarily to protect one’s business and are becoming an increasingly crucial factor for many small and medium-sized firms.

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Will: Compulsory portion revoked for causing bodily harm

July 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Under a very narrow set of circumstances, it is possible for legal heirs to have their entitlement to the statutory compulsory portion revoked. This is evident from a ruling of the Landgericht (LG) Landshut [Regional Court of Landshut] of March 4, 2016 (Az.: 54 O 2287/12).

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Changes to a Berliner Testament

July 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

A “Berliner Testament” is a popular form of will in Germany among spouses, as it enables them to provide each other with financial security and mutually appoint one another as sole heirs. However, it also entails disadvantages such as its strong binding effect.

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Bundeskartellamt imposes fines against cartel in sanitary sector

July 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

At the end of March, the Bundeskartellamt, Germany’s Federal Cartel Office, imposed fines amounting to around 21 million euros against the so-called “SanitĂ€r-Kartell” (cartel in the sanitary sector) on account of anti-competitive agreements.

Read more…

Withdrawal worthwhile both in the case of outstanding and repaid loans

July 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Withdrawal can prove to be an extremely attractive proposition from a financial perspective, even for consumers whose loans have already been paid off. That being said, withdrawal should certainly be carried out before June 21, 2016.

Read more…

Last legs for get-out-of-jail-free card – Loan withdrawal possible until June 21, 2016

July 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Anyone who withdraws from a real estate loan concluded between 2002 and 2010 stands to potentially benefit from low interest rates and save a lot of money. Having said that, withdrawal only remains an option until June 21, 2016. 

Read more…

Tax investigators trawl through Panama Papers – Submitting a voluntary declaration

July 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Tax investigators have apparently been sifting through the Panama Papers in the hope of rumbling suspected tax dodgers. There is still time to submit a voluntary declaration that can lead to immunity.

Read more…

Withdraw from loans, reduce interest burden

July 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Playing the get-out-of-jail-free card and withdrawing from expensive real estate loans is still possible until June 21 without consumers having to pay an early repayment penalty.

Read more…

OLG Koblenz: Misleading advertising concerning pharmaceuticals

July 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Advertising for pharmaceuticals is impermissible if the content of a promotional statement is not based on sound scientific evidence. That was the verdict of the Oberlandesgericht Koblenz (OLG) [Higher Regional Court of Koblenz].

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European competition authorities take aim at internet giant

July 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The European Commission has expanded its proceedings against an internet company on account of possible infringements of antitrust law. The latter is said to have potentially abused its dominant market position.

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Disinheritance only possible with will or contract of inheritance

July 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Family disputes can become deeply entrenched and are then no longer capable of being resolved. This can give rise to the desire to disinherit one’s relatives. For this to happen, a will needs to be prepared.

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BGH: Unworthy of inheriting due to discontinuation of life-sustaining measures

July 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

According to a ruling of the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), Germany’s Federal Court of Justice, discontinuing life-sustaining measures can render the personal responsible unworthy of inheriting in the absence of a living will (Az.: IV ZR 400/14).

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Declaration of discontinuance tied to a condition subject to strict requirements

July 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Declarations of discontinuance are a possible consequence of violations of competition law. They can be tied to a condition, but for this to happen strict requirements need to be met.

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Inheriting and bequeathing under EU succession regulation

July 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Enjoying one’s twilight years abroad is a dream that an increasing number of Germans are pursuing. However, it is important to bear in mind that this may affect the distribution of one’s estate.

Read more…

LAG Schleswig-Holstein: Dismissal following sit-in effective

July 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Everything has its limits, including negotiations concerning a wage increase. As demonstrated by a ruling of the Landesarbeitsgericht Schleswig-Holstein (LAG) [Regional Labour Court of Schleswig-Holstein], these can even end with the dismissal of the employee.

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Always open mail in inheritance cases

July 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

It is particularly easy for disputes to arise in cases involving communities of heirs. Anyone who refuses to accept an official or notarial letter in the context of inheritance disputes may end up drawing the short straw.

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BAG: Dismissal without notice for refusal to work effective

July 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Persistent refusal by an employee to perform his work duties as laid out in the employment contract can give rise to extraordinary and immediate dismissal. That was the verdict of Germany’s Federal Labour Court, the Bundesarbeitsgericht (BAG).

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Even minor deviations from standard guidance enough for loan withdrawal

July 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Even minor deviations from the respective standard guidance render guidance on the right of withdrawal flawed in the case of loan agreements. In most cases, it is still possible to withdraw from these.

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BAG: Claims lapse following expiry of negotiated limitation period

July 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

If an employment contract includes a collectively agreed limitation period, any claims need to be asserted in writing within said period of time vis-Ă -vis the opposing party to the claim.

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Withdrawal from loans: OLG NĂŒrnberg bolsters consumer rights

July 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

There have been many instances of banks and savings banks using ambiguous statements in guidance on the right of withdrawal regarding the commencement of the withdrawal period. Consequently, it is still possible to withdraw from these loans even years after they were taken out in most cases.

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Restrictive agreements permissible under certain circumstances

July 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

It is possible under certain circumstances according to German and European antitrust law for agreements restricting competition to be permissible if they have a positive impact on the market.

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OLG Bamberg: Berliner Testament cannot be unilaterally altered

July 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Spouses that mutually appoint each other as sole heirs in what is termed a “Berliner Testament” (Berlin will) need to be mindful of the binding effect associated with this kind of joint will.

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Countdown for loan withdrawal: Take action by June 21 deadline

June 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The countdown is on for withdrawing from real estate loans. The deadline for withdrawing from legacy contracts is June 21, 2016. After this date, the so-called “ewiges Widerrufsrecht” (perpetual right of withdrawal) will cease to exist.

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Competition law: Vegan cheese cannot be marketed as cheese

June 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

“Vegan” on the outside means it’s not cheese on the inside. That was the verdict of the Landgericht Trier (Regional Court of Trier) in its ruling of March 24, 2016 (7 HK O 41/15).

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Loan withdrawal comes to the attention of the BGH

June 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Another hearing before the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), Germany’s Federal Court of Justice, concerning withdrawal from consumer loans has been scheduled for May 24 (XI ZR 366/15). The BGH will then have to rule on an appeal brought by a bank.

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OLG Frankfurt: Unclear commencement of term renders guidance on right of withdrawal ineffective

June 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

If the guidance on the right of withdrawal in a loan agreement includes the words “die Widerrufsfrist beginnt frĂŒhestens mit Erhalt dieser Belehrung” (the withdrawal period shall commence at the earliest upon receipt of this guidance), withdrawal is likely to be an option.

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Withdraw from loans in due course and benefit from low interim interest

June 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

It is often possible to save several thousand euros by withdrawing from a real estate loan. Having said that, this so-called “ewiges Widerrufsrecht”, or perpetual right of withdrawal, shall cease to exist for legacy contracts on June 21, 2016.

Read more…

GRP Rainer: Assessing intention to prepare a will

June 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

A prerequisite for an effective will is a serious intention on the part of the testator to prepare one. Assessing any intention to draft a will can prove to be critical.

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EGC: Winnetou to retain trademark protection for time being

June 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

On March 18, 2016, the General Court of the European Union ruled that the well-known novel character Winnetou shall continue to enjoy trademark protection (Az.: T-501/13).

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OLG DĂŒsseldorf: Will effective despite removal from official custody

June 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

If a will is withdrawn from official custody it is deemed to have been revoked according to the law. Having said that, it is possible to contest the revocation under certain circumstances.

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Prerequisites for a nuncupative will

June 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Faced with his imminent death, a testator is still able to prepare a nuncupative will, i.e. a will to which three persons are witnesses. However, this needs to satisfy strict conditions for it to be effective.

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EGC: “Spa” not a Community trademark for cosmetics

June 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The term “Spa” is not a generic name for cosmetics and cannot be registered as a Community trademark. That was the verdict of the General Court of the European Union in its ruling of March 16 (T-201/14).

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Panama Papers – Voluntary disclosure in response to tax evasion

June 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The so-called “Panama Papers” have the potential to reveal tax evasion on a massive scale. German tax evaders can return to a state of tax compliance by way of voluntary disclosure.

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BGH on advertising without option to order

June 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court, has ruled that advertising for textiles need not mention their composition if the promotional brochure does not offer the opportunity to order.

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Inheritance tax reform must be in place by June 30, 2016

June 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The reforms to inheritance tax need to be in place by June 30, 2016, yet company heirs in particular still do not know what burdens they will be faced with going forward.  

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Bundeskartellamt investigates ticket allocation for Euro 2016

June 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The allocation of tickets for the UEFA European Championship in France has triggered the involvement of the Bundeskartellamt, Germany’s Federal Cartel Office. On March 22, 2016, it confirmed that it had instituted proceedings on account of exploitative abuse.

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GRP Rainer: Extensive experience in field of succession law

June 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

There are many pressing issues that arise when it comes to succession. For instance, testators have to decide whether they want to rely on the rules of intestate succession or prepare a will or contract of inheritance.

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EGC: Advertising featuring positive properties of dextrose misleading

June 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

In its ruling of March 16, 2016, the General Court of the European Union (EGC) confirmed that advertising for dextrose featuring health claims is not permissible (Az.: T-100/15).

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Wohnimmobilienkreditrichtlinie enters into force: Withdrawal still possible until June 21

June 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The entry into force of the Wohnimmobilienkreditrichtlinie heralds the end of the so-called “ewiges Widerrufsrecht” (perpetual right of withdrawal) for real estate loans. It will no longer be possible to withdraw from legacy contracts from June 21, 2016.

Read more…

Right of withdrawal not forfeited in cases involving withdrawal from a loan

June 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Banks often claim that the right of withdrawal has been forfeited as a way of fending off attempts to withdraw from a loan. However, this argument generally fails to convince.

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BGH: Reasons for withdrawal immaterial

June 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

According to the Bundesgerichtshof’s (BGH) ruling of March 16, in which it bolstered consumers’ right of withdrawal, consumers’ reasons for availing themselves of their right of withdrawal are irrelevant.

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Competition Law: Deceptive packaging is misleading

May 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Large packaging but little in the way of contents. The OLG Hamburg (Higher Regional Court of Hamburg) has ruled that this kind of misleading packaging sizes may infringe competition law (Az.: 3 U 20715).

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Arrangements need to be made early on for business succession

May 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Business succession can prove to be a crucial issue, especially in the case of family businesses. That is why the matter ought to be dealt with as early as possible.

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Grounds for challenging a will

May 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Heirs who are disappointed with the content of a will may under certain circumstances be able to challenge the will if they have good cause to do so.

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OLG Frankfurt: Valid will requires serious intention to draft a will

May 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

For documents to be recognized as a will, it needs to be possible to discern a serious intention to prepare a will. That was the verdict of the OLG Frankfurt (Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt) (Az.: 20 W 155/15). 

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Unfair advertising: Health claims concerning foods

May 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Health claims pertaining to foods have to satisfy strict requirements if they are to avoid infringing competition law. That was the verdict of the Landgericht Rostock (Regional Court of Rostock) in a recent ruling.

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OLG Koblenz on misleading advertising

May 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Companies promoting their products need to ensure that consumers have a realistic opportunity to purchase them. That was the verdict of the OLG Koblenz (Higher Regional Court of Koblenz) in a recent ruling.

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BGH: Comparative advertising featuring third-party trademark may be permissible

May 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The use of a third-party trademark in comparative advertising does not automatically constitute an infringement of trademark law. That was the decision of the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), Germany’s Federal Court of Justice (Az.: I ZR 167/13).

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OLG Frankfurt: Misleading advertising featuring corporate history

May 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

If over the course of its history a company was split up, advertising featuring the company’s history may be misleading. That was the verdict of the OLG Frankfurt (Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt) in a recent ruling (6 U 167/14).

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OLG Hamm: Discernible intention to prepare a will necessary for will to be effective

May 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

In order for a will to be effective, it must be possible to discern a serious intention to draft a will. That was the verdict of the OLG Hamm (Higher Regional Court of Hamm) in its ruling of November 27, 2015 (Az.: 10 W 153/15).

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Illicit funds in offshore accounts: Avert prosecution with timely voluntary declaration

May 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Hesse’s Finance Minister, Dr. Thomas SchĂ€fer, has announced that the fight against tax evasion will continue. Voluntary disclosure is still the only way out for tax dodgers.

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Cuts to life insurance – Consider withdrawal

May 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The idea of life insurance forming a component of one’s retirement plan is increasingly losing credibility. According to media reports, consumers ought to anticipate further cuts in 2016.

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GmbH shareholder’s estate: Passing on company shares

May 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The shares in a GmbH form part of a GmbH shareholder’s estate. Accordingly, it is important to settle early on who the company shares will go to in the event of succession.

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BGH bolsters consumer rights when withdrawing from pension schemes and life insurance policies

May 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), Germany’s Federal Court of Justice, has once again strengthened the rights of consumers when withdrawing from pension schemes and life insurance policies with its ruling of October 14, 2015 (Az.: IV ZR 284/12).

Read more…

LAG Hamm on non-competition clause and compensation for period of non-competition in employment cont

May 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Non-competition clauses agreed between employer and employee with no provision for compensation for the period of non-competition are generally invalid. However, the LAG Hamm (Regional Labour Court of Hamm) recently reached a different conclusion (Az.: 10 Sa 67/15).

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BGH on registering a trademark in bad faith

May 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

One cannot seek to have a nationwide trademark invalidated on account of its registration in bad faith merely because a geographically restricted right has been impaired (BGH, I ZB 44/14).

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GRP Rainer presented with Finance Award

May 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The international trade journal Wealth & Finance International has presented GRP Rainer with the 2015 Finance Award for banking law and tax law.

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Dismissal without notice after scuffle between colleagues – Intensity decisive

May 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Fights between work colleagues that become physical can give rise to termination of an employment contract without notice. The key factor is the intensity of any physical altercation.

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BGH on restraints on competition between GmbH and shareholders

May 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

According to a ruling of the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH) [Federal Court of Justice], client protection clauses between a GmbH and a withdrawing shareholder are null and void if their term goes beyond what is necessary (Az.: II ZR 369/13).

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GmbH managing director may be liable for tax debts

May 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The managing director of a GmbH (limited liability company) may be personally liable for payment of the company’s tax debts if he fails to discharge his obligation to ensure the provision of funds.

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BGH on calculating compulsory portion where estate includes property

May 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Calculating an heir’s compulsory portion is challenging if the testator was merely a co-owner of a property. Last year, the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH) [Federal Court of Justice] had to get to grips with this very issue.

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K.i.B. Kompetenz in Beratung GmbH: BaFin orders winding up

May 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The Bundesanstalt fĂŒr Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht (BaFin) [Federal Financial Supervisory Authority] has ordered that K.i.B. Kompetenz in Beratung GmbH wind up its unauthorized retail deposit business and any money received be paid back to investors immediately.

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GRP Rainer: Economic and legal evaluation of M&A transactions

May 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

In cases involving M&A transactions, a detailed evaluation of the economic risks and opportunities as well as the associated legal issues is indispensable.

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BAG: Holliday entitlement lapses with death of employee

May 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

A ruling of the Arbeitsgericht Berlin (Labour Court of Berlin) is causing a sensation. According to this, heirs can have the holiday entitlement of a deceased employee paid out to them. The Bundesarbeitsgericht (BAG) [Federal Labour Court] came to a different conclusion.

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Prohibited advertising directed at children

May 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Children are an interesting target audience in the field of advertising. That being said, it is important for businesses to be careful not to infringe Germany’s Gesetz gegen den unlauteren Wettbewerb (Unfair Competition Act).

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Dismissal without notice after fiddling working hours

May 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

If an employee fiddles his working hours, this may entitle his employer to terminate the employment contract without notice. That was the ruling reached by the Landesarbeitsgericht Mainz (Regional Labour Court of Mainz) (Az.: 8 Sa 363/14).

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Withdrawing from life insurance policies: Review withdrawal

May 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Anybody who wishes to withdraw from their life insurance policy or pension scheme can have someone review whether this is possible. This is generally more financially appealing than termination.

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GRP Rainer: Experience in business succession planning

April 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Employers ought not to rely on the rules of intestate succession but instead prepare a will. The law firm GRP Rainer has extensive experience in business succession planning.

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Rail cartel: Bundeskartellamt imposes fine running into millions of euros

April 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Germany’s Federal Cartel Office, the Bundeskartellamt, has brought a close to the so-called “Schienenfall” (rail case) and imposed a fine amounting to millions of euros on a rail company for illegal price-fixing agreements.

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Trademark law: Community trade mark becomes European Union trade mark

April 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The new regulation concerning European Union trade marks is set to come into force on March 23, 2016. What has hitherto been known as a Community trade mark will then become a European Union trade mark. 

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Withdrawing from loans and reimbursement of early repayment penalty

April 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

It is still possible to withdraw from a loan even after it has been prematurely paid off. After successfully withdrawing from the loan, the consumer can reclaim his early repayment penalty.

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Withdrawing from loans: OLG Köln bolsters consumer rights

April 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

In its ruling of November 6, 2015, the Oberlandesgericht Köln (Higher Regional Court of Cologne) once again strengthened consumer rights in cases involving withdrawal from a loan (Az.: 13 U 113/15).

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Trademark law: EGC dismisses action brought by a soft drinks manufacturer

April 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

In its ruling of February 24, the General Court of the European Union (EGC) rejected a legal action brought by a well-known soft drinks manufacturer to register a bottle without fluting as a Community trademark (T-411/14).

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BGH to rule on withdrawal from loans on April 5

April 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The issue of withdrawing from loans is to be addressed once again by the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH) [Germany’s Federal Court of Justice] on April 5 (XI ZR 478/15). A consumer had prematurely paid off and later withdrawn from his loan agreements.

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Rules of intestate succession apply in the absence of a will

April 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Anybody who fails to prepare a will ought to be aware that the rules of intestate succession shall apply. These are not necessarily consistent with the testator’s wishes and may entail various other disadvantages.

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Withdrawing from loans: Bundesrat favours longer transitional period for legacy contracts

April 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The controversial plans to do away with what is termed the “ewiges Widerrufsrecht” (perpetual right of withdrawal) in cases involving real estate loans have been met with criticism from political quarters. The Bundesrat (the upper house of the German parliament) considers the case for a longer transitional period to be justified.

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OLG Frankfurt: No forfeiture of right of withdrawal in cases involving consumer loans

April 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

According to a ruling of the OLG Frankfurt (Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt), the right to withdraw from a loan is not forfeited even after years have passed since the conclusion of the loan agreement (Az.: 23 U 24/15).

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OLG MĂŒnchen: Contesting an inheritance due to over-indebtedness of the estate

April 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

An estate not only encompasses assets but also any debts of the testator. It is possible for the acceptance of an inheritance to be challenged due to a misapprehension regarding commercially material characteristics.

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LAG Rheinland-Pfalz: Applying fixed terms to employment contracts based on objective grounds

April 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Employment contracts can be limited for a period of two years. An additional fixed term needs to be justified based on objective grounds. This also applies in the context of professional sports. 

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Scholz Holding GmbH: Deferred payment of interest

April 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Investors in Scholz Holding GmbH bonds will not receive an interest payment on March 8. The due payment has been deferred until May 31, 2016.

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Withdraw from loans now: Right of withdrawal from legacy contracts to expire on June 21, 2016

April 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Anyone who is still considering withdrawing from a loan ought to act now. The German Bundestag has resolved to do away with the option to withdraw. Thus, withdrawal is only possible until June 21, 2016.

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Ekosam-Agrar GmbH: Bond terms to be extended

April 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Investors in Ekosem-Agrar GmbH are to vote on a four-year extension to the terms of two bonds. Creditor meetings are taking place on March 16 and 17.

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Untaxed income from capital in foreign accounts – Voluntary disclosure

March 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Be it Liechtenstein, Austria or Switzerland, many tax havens have had their day. Anyone who still has untaxed income in foreign accounts ought to consider voluntary disclosure.

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Advantages and disadvantages of a Berliner Testament

March 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

In a so-called “Berliner Testament” (Berlin will), spouses mutually appoint each other as sole heirs. This is meant to provide the surviving spouse with economic security. The children are usually designated as final heirs.

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ECJ: Two side stripes on sports shoe not a Community trademark

March 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Two parallel stripes on the sides of a sports shoe cannot be registered as a Community trademark. This comes from a ruling of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) dated February 17, 2016. 

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Tax compliance management systems for businesses

March 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Complex tax legislation and changes to the rules can result in mistakes being made by businesses when it comes to tax matters. An efficient tax compliance management system helps to prevent mistakes and avoid sanctions.

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Bundeskartellamt commences proceedings against internet company

March 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

On March 2, the Bundeskartellamt (Germany’s Federal Cartel Office) commenced proceedings against an internet giant. According to the Federal Cartel Office, there is reason to suspect that the company has abused its dominant market position.

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BGH: Invalid clauses in Riester retirement plans – Unravelling pension schemes and life insurance

March 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Clauses in Riester retirement plans (government-subsidized private pension schemes) dealing with surplus sharing have been declared ineffective by the BGH (Bundesgerichtshof – Federal Court of Justice) (Az.: IV ZR 38/14). Consumers may also be able to withdraw from their pension schemes and life insurance policies.

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BGH: Post-contractual non-competition clause for commercial agent ineffective

March 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

In its ruling of December 3, 2015, the Bundesgerichtshof (Federal Court of Justice) invalidated a post-contractual non-competition clause in a commercial agency agreement (Az.: VII ZR 100/15).

GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, DĂŒsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London conclude: Commercial agents often have post-contractual non-competition clauses in their contracts. These clauses are not always effective.

The BGH held in its ruling of December 3, 2015 that the following provision from a commercial agency agreement, formulated by the principal as a general business term, was ineffective because it violated the requirement for transparency: “The financial advisor undertakes for a period of two years after termination of the agency relationship to refrain from poaching or attempting to poach clients from the company” (Der Vermögensberater verpflichtet sich, es fĂŒr die Dauer von zwei Jahren nach Beendigung des HandelsvertreterverhĂ€ltnisses  zu  unterlassen,  der  Gesellschaft  Kunden  abzuwerben  oder  dies  auch nur  zu  versuchen).

In the instant case, the company asserted claims against its former commercial agent, arguing that he had violated the post-contractual non-competition clause and poached clients. The commercial agency agreement stipulated, among other things, that the agent was not allowed to poach or attempt to poach clients for a period of two years after termination of the agreement. The contractual relationship came to an end in 2011. In the period of time between 2012 and 2013, the agent was said to have tried to poach clients. The company therefore sued for damages. However, the BGH dismissed this claim.

The Karlsruhe judges held that no effective post-contractual restraint on competition had been arranged, as the contractual provision in question was invalid due to its violation of the requirement for transparency. They went on to say that the non-competition clause was not worded clearly or precisely enough and not in sufficiently understandable terms. The economic disadvantages needed to have been clear from examining the contractual provisions. The issue of whether the post-contractual non-competition clause was ineffective for this reason was immaterial inasmuch as no compensation had been arranged for the period of non-competition, despite the fact that an obligation on the part of the company to pay the commercial agent reasonable compensation for the period of non-competition could be directly inferred from legislation.

It is equally important when preparing contracts for companies and commercial agents to pay attention to proper wording in order to avoid legal disputes at a later date. This also applies to post-contractual non-competition clauses. Lawyers who are competent in the field of commercial law can advise on drafting contracts.

http://www.grprainer.com/en/legal-advice/commercial-law/commercial-agency-law.html

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Tax evasion: Automatic exchange of information to trigger new wave of voluntary declarations

March 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Anyone who has evaded taxes is still able to submit a voluntary declaration that can lead to immunity. With the help of a successful voluntary declaration, it is possible to avoid a conviction for tax evasion.

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BGH to rule on dispute over red colour trademark

March 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Two financial institutions have been arguing over the use of a particular shade of red for a long time. The Bundesgerichtshof (BGH) [Germany’s Federal Court of Justice] has to deliver its ruling on April 21 regarding this trademark dispute.

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OVG NRW: Promoting pharmaceuticals with in-house organic seal not permitted

March 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

In its ruling of October 26, 2015, the Oberverwaltungsgericht NRW (Higher Administrative Court of North Rhine-Westphalia) held that in-house organic seals on pharmaceuticals may constitute prohibited advertising (Az.: 13A 2597/14).  

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BAG on the effectiveness of a post-contractual restraint on competition

March 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

According to a judgment of the Bundesarbeitsgericht (German Federal Labour Court), even a mere interest-free loan for a competing company has the potential to violate a post-contractual restraint on competition (Az.: 10 AZR 260/14).

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LG Frankfurt prohibits taxi broker’s discount promotion

March 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Promotional discounts can give rise to unfair predatory competition and infringe competition law. The Landgericht Frankfurt (Regional Court of Frankfurt) prohibited a promotional discount from the provider of a taxi app for this very reason.

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OLG Schleswig: Will needs to be clearly dated

March 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

According to a ruling of the OLG Schleswig (Higher Regional Court of Schleswig) from July 16, 2015, if a will is not precisely dated then the testamentary disposition may be ineffective (Az.: 3 Wx 53/15).

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OLG Karlsruhe: High standards apply to the hearing of evidence if only a copy of a will is available

March 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

If only a copy of a will is available then high standards will be applied to the hearing of evidence before a certificate of inheritance can be granted.

GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, DĂŒsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London conclude: In its ruling of October 8, 2015, the Oberlandesgericht Karlsruhe (Higher Regional Court of Karlsruhe) held that in cases where the original will can no longer be located, a particularly rigorous approach needs to be taken to clarifying whether the copy matches the missing original if the authority in question is to comply with its obligation to examine the facts of its own motion. To this end, it is generally necessary for a formal hearing of evidence with strict rules of proof to take place by hearing witnesses (11 Wx 78/14).

In the case in question, the testator had prepared a joint spousal will with his wife in which they mutually appointed each other as sole heirs. After the husband passed away, it was no longer possible to locate the will. However, since copies did exist, the wife presented one of these to the probate court and applied for a certificate of inheritance, which the probate court subsequently granted. In doing so, it based its decision on the wife’s affidavit. This stated that she had drawn up a joint will with the deceased and that the signature on the copy was his.

One of the sons lodged an appeal against this ruling. He argued that the signature attributed to his father could not be authentic and submitted another signature for comparison. He was also critical of the fact that the probate court had omitted to formally hear evidence. The OLG then obtained an expert opinion for the purposes of determining whether the deceased’s signature was authentic. Based on the expert opinion and after hearing the witnesses, it reached the conclusion that the signature was authentic and that the copy which had been submitted did match the original will. Having said that, a copy of a will does not satisfy the requirements for a formally valid handwritten will and therefore no hereditary title could be derived from the copy. The Court went on to say that the copy could only become effective like the original will if after hearing the evidence the exact contents of the disposition were apparent as well as the fact that the disposition had been drawn up in a formally valid manner.

When preparing a will, the testator should make sure that it can be located after his death. Furthermore, it ought to be drafted as clearly as possible so that no doubts are raised concerning the authenticity of the testamentary disposition. Lawyers who are competent in the field of succession law can advise on matters pertaining to succession.

http://www.grprainer.com/en/legal-advice/law-of-succession/last-will-and-testament.html

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LAG Berlin-Brandenburg: Works council members’ claim for transfer to permanent employment contract

March 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Two members of a mail order company’s works council failed with their claim before the Landesarbeitsgericht Berlin-Brandenburg (Regional Labour Court of Berlin-Brandenburg) to be transferred to a permanent employment contract (Az.: 23 Sa 1445/15; 23 Sa 1446/15).

GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, DĂŒsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London conclude: The Christmas shopping season gives rise to an increased demand for labour at mail order companies. Accordingly, more workers are taken on during this time on a temporary basis. Come the end of the year, it may be the case that a portion of these workers are kept on as the circumstances require and depending on their work performance– some with fixed-term employment contracts, others with permanent employment contracts.

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Extending discount promotion an infringement of competition law

March 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

<> According to a judgment of the LG Hamburg (Regional Court of Hamburg), extending fixed-term promotional discounts for no particular reason constitutes an infringement of competition law.

GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, DĂŒsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London conclude: Fixed-term promotional discounts are an important form of advertising for many businesses. With bargain promotions, it is possible to purposefully attract customers. In principle, there is nothing wrong with this. That being said, individual stores are not allowed to arbitrarily extend the timeframe for these kinds of promotions for no particular reason. According to a ruling of the Landgericht Hamburg from June 17, 2015, this advertising could then be misleading to consumers and thus constitute an infringement of competition law (Az.: 408 HKO 17/14).

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LAG DĂŒsseldorf affirms dismissal without notice for outburst during carnival festivities

February 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Even during carnival time there are limits. According to a ruling of the LAG DĂŒsseldorf (Regional Labour Court of DĂŒsseldorf), anyone misbehaving too much during office festivities for carnival risks being fired (13 Sa 957/15).

GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, DĂŒsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London conclude: In large parts of Germany, carnival celebrations have reached their critical phase. Carnival is also celebrated within a lot of businesses, but those celebrating should not let things get out of hand lest they run the risk of being fired. This was made clear by a ruling of the Landesarbeitsgericht DĂŒsseldorf of December 22, 2015 affirming the dismissal without notice of a severely disabled employee.

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LAG Berlin-Brandenburg: Dismissal without notice for good cause

February 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

According to a ruling of the LAG Berlin-Brandenburg (Regional Labour Court of Berlin-Brandenburg), an employer can terminate an employment contract without notice if it has good cause to do so (Az.: 17 Sa 810/15).

GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, DĂŒsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London conclude: Employment law stipulates that termination of an employment contract without notice is possible if the employee is accused of having grossly violated his duties and it would no longer be reasonable to expect the employer to have to continue employing the worker until the next termination date under the ordinary rules for dismissal. The matter of when a breach of duty is sufficiently serious such that continuing the employment relationship becomes unreasonable is often contentious. It might have been enough for the employer to have issued a formal written warning or notice of ordinary termination (i.e. termination with notice).

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New EU succession law could have serious implications

February 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The new EU succession law regime has been in force since August 17. The EU regulation concerning succession law could have serious implications for both testators and heirs. For this reason, it may be advisable to prepare a will.

GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, DĂŒsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London conclude: The new EU regulation on succession law primarily concerns those who have a permanent residence abroad. Sunny countries such as Spain, Italy and France have long ceased to be just another holiday destination for many Germans who may have acquired property and wish to spend their twilight years there. This can have implications for succession, as the new EU regulation dealing with succession law provides that it is the country in which the testator was habitually resident whose succession laws shall apply. The so-called residence principle thus replaces nationality as the decisive factor. The applicable succession laws are then applied to the entire estate, even if the assets are spread across several countries. The regulation is applicable within the EU, with the exception of the United Kingdom, Ireland and Denmark.

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Possible to revoke life insurance policy despite prior cancellation

February 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

According to a ruling of the OLG Hamm (Higher Regional Court of Hamm), it is possible to revoke a life insurance plan even after the policy has already been cancelled (Az.: 20 U 56/14).

GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, DĂŒsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London conclude: It is possible to unravel life insurance policies and pension schemes even if the policy or scheme in question was cancelled prior to notice of withdrawal being announced. That was the decision of the Oberlandesgericht Hamm in its ruling of June 17, 2016.

The case before the OLG Hamm concerned the withdrawal of a policyholder from a life insurance policy that he had concluded in 2003. He cancelled the policy in 2006 and up until then had paid 32,800 euros in total contributions. The insurer accepted the cancellation and paid a surrender value of around 14,300 euros. The consumer eventually announced his withdrawal from the policy in September 2010 and requested that the insurer reimburse the premiums he had paid, claiming that he had not been properly informed about his right of revocation. The insurer took a different view, with the result that the consumer’s claim ultimately ended up before the OLG Hamm.

The OLG found in favour of the consumer. It stated that he had not been properly informed about his right of revocation. The guidance provided lacked the necessary clarity because it did not stand out sufficiently from the rest of the contract’s text. Regarding the substance of the policy, the Court went on to say that it did not adequately outline that the period for withdrawal does not begin until after the certificate of insurance, insurance terms and conditions, and any other information that is to be made available to consumers have been handed over. Moreover, it was not made sufficiently clear to the consumer that for the period of withdrawal to be initiated it was necessary for the certificate of insurance, insurance terms and conditions, and any other consumer information to be handed over.

The OLG also held that prior cancellation of the insurance contract was not an obstacle to withdrawal at a later date. The lack of proper instructions concerning the right of revocation meant that the consumer was not able to properly exercise his right to choose between cancellation and withdrawal, as he was not sufficiently aware of his option to withdraw.

Consumers who wish to revoke their life insurance policy can turn to lawyers who are versed in the fields of banking and capital markets law.

http://www.grprainer.com/en/legal-advice/capital-markets-law.html

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OLG Hamburg: Advertising with lowest price guarantee potentially anti-competitive

February 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

OLG Hamburg: Advertising with lowest price guarantee potentially anti-competitive According to a ruling of the Oberlandesgericht Hamburg (Higher Regional Court of Hamburg), advertising with a lowest price guarantee is potentially misleading and thus anti-competitive (Az.: 5 U 160/11).

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Business succession: Reform of inheritance tax entails greater burden

February 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The reform of inheritance tax could entail a greater burden on company heirs in the context of business succession than was hitherto thought to be the case. The government’s plans are coming under fire.

GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, DĂŒsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London conclude: The issue of business succession is high on the agenda of many family businesses. The older generation wishes to slowly withdraw from the business and retire, and the children or other relatives are supposed to continue running the firm. The necessary reform of inheritance tax could place a greater burden on company heirs in the course of this than has hitherto been assumed.

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Contracts of inheritance have a strong binding effect

February 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Anyone who wishes to arrange their estate according to a contract of inheritance should note that a contract of inheritance can have a strong binding effect, as demonstrated by a ruling of the OLG MĂŒnchen (Higher Regional Court of Munich) (31 Wx 280/14).

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Establishing a company: Choosing the right corporate form

February 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Company founders have to come to a decision regarding the corporate form of their new business. The favourite is often the Gesellschaft mit beschrĂ€nkter Haftung (limited liability company) – GmbH.

GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, DĂŒsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London conclude: Anyone who wishes to go into business for themselves and establish a company needs to choose a suitable corporate form. The Gesellschaft mit beschrĂ€nkter Haftung, or GmbH for short, is among the most popular corporate forms when establishing new companies and start-ups.

One of the main advantages associated with GmbHs is the limited risk of liability. The company is liable to the extent of its share capital, whereas the shareholders cannot, save for a few exceptions, be personally subject to claims for the company’s liabilities. Furthermore, the GmbH allows for significant creative leeway, and one ought to take advantage of this. Company founders can seek legal advice from lawyers who are competent in the field of company law when choosing the right corporate form.

In order to establish a GmbH, it is necessary for there to be at least one shareholder. Additionally, the GmbH has to have a managing director. The required share capital in the amount of 25,000 euros sometimes represents an obstacle for company founders, but it does not have to be paid immediately; for the purposes of registering in the commercial register, it is sufficient to pay half of this. Moreover, it is possible for the contribution to take the form of tangible assets, e.g. a car, real estate etc. The share capital also represents the GmbH’s liability threshold. While the shareholders are not, as a matter of principle, liable with their private assets for the GmbH’s liabilities, they might be obligated to pay damages if they deliberately damage the company in a way that is contra bonos mores. The managing director, on the other hand, may be liable if he has breached his obligations.

A more favourable alternative to a GmbH in the start-up phase is the so-called Unternehmergesellschaft (entrepreneurial company). In the case of a UG, only one euro’s worth of share capital is necessary. However, this advantage is qualified by the fact that a quarter of any profits generated needs to go towards reaching the same level of initial investment that applies to GmbHs.

Choosing a suitable corporate form can have a decisive impact on the success of a business, as the various types of company entail different rights and obligations, including from a tax perspective. That is why one ought to obtain competent legal advice.

http://www.grprainer.com/en/legal-advice/company-law/gmbh-limited-liability-company.html

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Open-ended real estate funds in liquidation: Damages still possible

February 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Investors in open-ended real estate funds which have since gone into liquidation can still assert claims for damages. Their prospects have improved thanks to the jurisprudence of the Bundesgerichtshof (German Federal Court of Justice).

GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, DĂŒsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London conclude: As a result of the outbreak of the 2008 financial crisis, investors in open-ended real estate funds were amongst those particularly affected by the realisation that the much-vaunted Betongold – literally concrete gold – is by no means a risk-free investment. A lot of open-ended real estate funds were forced to close, with investors being unable to redeem their shares.

To date, there are still large numbers of open-ended real estate funds that are currently in liquidation. During this phase, attempts are made to sell the fund properties. The investors receive rotational payments, the amount of which is largely dependent on the sales revenue. While financial losses are a possibility here, the investors do not necessarily have to be stuck with these losses; they are still able to assert claims for damages.

The basis of any such damages claims could be erroneous investment advice, since the intermediary banks ought to have comprehensively informed the investors in the consultation meetings, among other things, about the workings and risks associated with an open-ended real estate fund. Following a long period of uncertainty as to whether the possibility of the fund closing should be classed as a risk with respect to which one has to be informed, the Bundesgerichtshof provided clarity and came to a consumer-friendly conclusion last year.

The BGH held that intermediary banks need to explain the risk of open-ended real estate funds closing without being asked to do so, as the possibility of the ability to redeem one’s shares being suspended represents a constant liquidity risk for the investors during their investment phase. If the bank concealed this risk, it has thereby rendered itself liable to pay damages. The Karlsruhe judges went on to state that the obligation to inform is in no way contingent upon whether or not the closure of the fund was foreseeable at the time the agreement was concluded.

This case law from Germany’s supreme court presents numerous investors in open-ended real estate funds with the chance to assert their claims for damages. Having said that, it needs to be assessed on a case-by-case basis whether the bank in question has breached its obligation to provide advice. Investors can turn to lawyers who are versed in the fields of banking and capital markets law to examine and enforce their claims.

http://www.grprainer.com/en/legal-advice/capital-markets-law.html

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Kartellamt prohibits best-price clause on hotel reservation portals

February 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The Bundeskartellamt (German Federal Cartel Office) has prohibited a hotel reservation portal from using so-called “narrow” best-price clauses, arguing that they restrict competition.

GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, DĂŒsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London conclude: The use of best-price clauses has long been controversial and a thorn in the side of competition watchdogs. These provisions can constitute an infringement of competition law because they are capable of hampering free competition and ultimately harm consumers.

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Anticipated inheritance and gifts

February 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

It is possible for assets to be transferred to the prospective heirs during the lifetime of the testator. This is then referred to as an anticipated inheritance, which frequently occurs by way of gifts. 

GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, DĂŒsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London conclude: Germany is set to be faced with a wave of inheritances in the coming years, with estimates suggesting that trillions of euros worth of assets are to be transferred. It is not necessary to wait until the testator’s death to transfer these assets. Depending on the individual circumstances, it might make more sense for the testator to transfer all or some of his assets during his lifetime.

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Trademark law: Crocodile snaps its jaws around a caiman

February 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Brand recognition is a valuable asset for businesses. Accordingly, the General Court of the European Union (EGC) recognised that it is worth protecting these brands. 

GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, DĂŒsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London conclude: According to a ruling of the General Court of the European Union of September 30, 2015, even a small visual resemblance or an average degree of conceptual similarity may result in it being impossible to register a brand as a trademark (Az.: T-364/13).

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BGH on contingent liability of GmbH shareholders

February 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

If a partner of a GmbH (Gesellschaft mit beschrĂ€nkter Haftung) [limited liability company] sells his ownership interest, he thus becomes excluded from contingent liability and is not liable for the other partners’ outstanding capital contributions.

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Berliner Testament featuring remarriage clause

February 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

It is possible for children who are appointed as final heirs in a Berliner Testament (Berlin will) to ultimately come away empty-handed. To afford the children greater protection, a so-called Wiederverheiratungsklausel (remarriage clause) can be inserted into the will.

GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, DĂŒsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London conclude: In cases involving a Berliner Testament, also referred to as a spousal will, spouses mutually appoint each other as sole heirs. In most cases, the children they have in common are then appointed as final heirs, i.e. they will not come into their inheritance until both parents have passed away. This entails a certain degree of risk for the children, since it is possible for the estate to have been exhausted by that point in time. Things can become particularly problematic if after the death of the first spouse the surviving partner remarries, because the new partner is then entitled to inherit as well.

A remarriage clause can afford protection for the children’s inheritance in this instance. The provision stipulates that in the event that one of the spouses marries again, the final heirs as defined in the Berliner Testament shall inherit at the time of this marriage. This effectively separates the surviving spouse’s assets, with the partner to die first’s estate only going to the children who were appointed as final heirs. The new spouse is then only entitled to inherit his or her own assets. That being said, when it comes to these types of remarriage clauses, it is important to be mindful of the proper wording to ensure that there is no room for interpretation and no inheritance disputes at a later date. It must also be borne in mind that it is possible for these kinds of clauses to be construed as contrary to public policy.

This is because remarriage clauses are not allowed to encroach upon the surviving spouse’s freedom to marry and put disproportionate pressure on him or her based on the fact that he or she could lose their inheritance owing to the second marriage. One possible alternative is to convert sole heir succession into preliminary succession for life. In doing so, the children’s inheritance would remain protected.

When it comes to drawing up a will, there are many pitfalls and statutory regulations that need to be observed, and it is generally not possible for a layperson to keep track of all of these. It can therefore be helpful to seek the legal advice of lawyers who are experienced in the field of succession law when drafting a will, Berliner Testament or contract of inheritance.

http://www.grprainer.com/en/legal-advice/law-of-succession/last-will-and-testament.html

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Insolvent estate – Heir liable with his assets

February 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Assets are not a given when it comes to an inheritance; it is also possible for the estate to include debts. If that is the case, it may make more sense to reject rather than accept the legacy.

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Fidentum GmbH insolvent – BaFin orders liquidation of Lombardium Hamburg GmbH & Co. KG

February 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Preliminary insolvency proceedings were opened against Fidentum GmbH before the Amtsgericht Hamburg (Hamburg Local Court) on December 4 (Az. 67c IN 473/15). The issuing house offered its clients the LombardClassic 3 Fund.

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Drawbacks to Berliner Testament

February 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

In cases involving a Berliner Testament (Berlin will) or spousal will, the spouses mutually appoint each other as sole heirs. This can lead to certain drawbacks, e.g. if the surviving spouse remarries.

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Switzerland searching for account holders or their heirs

February 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Switzerland is searching for missing account holders or their heirs. With several million francs said to be sitting “unclaimed” in Swiss accounts, succession could prove to be profitable.

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LAG Hesse: Dismissal without notice valid due to forged sick note

February 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

If an employee submits a forged doctor’s certificate for sick leave (ArbeitsunfĂ€higkeitsbescheinigung), this may result in dismissal with immediate effect.

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BGH: Fruit juice can be promoted with description “lernstark”

February 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

In its judgment of December 10, the BGH ruled that statements such as “lernstark” (fast learner) and “Mit Eisen zur UnterstĂŒtzung der KonzentrationsfĂ€higkeit” (with iron to promote concentration) are permissible on foodstuffs (I ZR 222/13).

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Applications for conciliation only suspend prescription of damages claims if accurate

January 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

A lot of investors are entitled to claim damages after an investment has gone wrong. It is possible to suspend the statute of limitations for these claims by properly submitting applications for conciliation.

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BGH strengthens commercial agents’ entitlement to payment of voluntary contributions

January 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The Bundesgerichtshof (German Federal Court of Justice) has strengthened the rights of commercial agents after their agency agreements have been terminated with its ruling of November 5, 2015 (Az.: VII ZR 59/14).

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Bundeskartellamt has audio books in its sights

January 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Audio books have attracted the attention of the Bundeskartellamt (German Federal Cartel Office). The competition watchdog is investigating whether an online mail order company and a manufacturer of consumer electronics are acting contrary to competition law.

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EGC: Test procedure for vacuums not misleading to consumers

January 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Specifications regarding the energy consumption of empty vacuum cleaners do not infringe competition law. That was the decision of the General Court of the European Union (EGC) in its ruling of November 11 (Az.: T-544/13).

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Sweeping advertising statements can be misleading

January 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The Landgericht Berlin (Regional Court of Berlin) ruled on April 14, 2015 that blanket advertising of savings is misleading to consumers (Az.: 103 O 124/14).

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VG Koblenz: Managing director liable for tax debts

January 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The managing directors of a German Unternehmergesellschaft (entrepreneurial company), UG for short, are liable for the company’s trade tax debts. That was the decision of the Verwaltungsgericht Koblenz (Administrative Court of Koblenz) (Az.: 5 K 526/15.KO).

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Abusive criticism can result in termination of the employment contract

January 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

While it is of course permissible to criticise one’s employer, excessively abusive criticism can lead to termination of one’s employment contract. It can even potentially justify termination without notice.

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LAG DĂŒsseldorf on the conditions for termination without notice

January 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Employment contracts can be terminated without notice for good cause. Whether a serious cause justifies termination is ultimately decided on a case-by-case basis.

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OLG Hamm: Limits to interpretation of a will

January 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

To ensure that the “final wishes” laid down in a will can actually be implemented, they ought to be defined in the most detailed manner possible, as demonstrated by a ruling of the OLG Hamm (Higher Regional Court of Hamm) (Az.: 15 W 98/14).

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Arbeitsgericht Berlin: Effective termination often preceded by final warning

January 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

In many cases, it is necessary for an employer to issue the employee in question with a final warning before the former can effectively give notice of dismissal. In the absence of a formal warning, the dismissal may be invalid.

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OLG Frankfurt: Continuity of a joint will despite divorce

January 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

It is possible for a joint will to remain valid even after a divorce under certain circumstances. That was the decision of the OLG Frankfurt (Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt) (Az.: 20 W 520/11).

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Legislature planning changes to voidance actions under insolvency law

January 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Insolvency law is about to undergo major changes. The German Federal Government introduced a bill at the end of September amending voidance actions under insolvency law.

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LG DĂŒsseldorf strengthens the rights of commercial agents regarding compensation claims

January 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The Landgericht DĂŒsseldorf (Regional Court of DĂŒsseldorf) has strengthened the rights of commercial agents with a view to their entitlement to seek compensation (partial judgment of August 28, 2015, Az.: 33 O 119/12).

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LAG Hamm on applying fixed terms to employment contracts

January 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Employers have to be careful when applying fixed terms to employment contracts. A temporary employment relationship can quickly turn into a permanent employment contract.

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Poaching employees is part of free competition

January 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

According to a ruling of the OLG Oldenburg (Higher Regional Court of Oldenburg), luring employees away from competitors does not constitute a violation of competition law (Az. 6 U 135/15).

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Will and statutory compulsory portion

January 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The line of succession can be altered by means of a will or contract of inheritance. Going as far as divesting legal heirs of their compulsory portion is only possible under certain circumstances. 

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Settle business succession early on

January 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The issue of business succession preys on the minds of the heads of many family-run businesses. Plans for succession ought to be made at an early stage. It can also be helpful to prepare a will.

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BAG: Unauthorised private use of official computer may justify termination without notice

January 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

According to a ruling of the Bundesarbeitsgericht (German Federal Labour Court), unauthorised private use of an official computer may justify an exceptional notice of termination under employment law.

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Refusing overtime can justify dismissal

January 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

In the field of employment law, refusing to work, including refusing overtime, can justify termination of the employment contract. That was the decision of the LAG [Landesarbeitsgericht] Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Regional Labour Court of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania) (Az.: 5 TaBV 7/14).

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Tax evasion: Time is running out for voluntary disclosure

January 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Be it as a result of the purchase of CDs containing information on tax evaders or cooperation among countries, things are becoming increasingly difficult for tax evaders. Voluntary disclosure represents the only way out for them. 

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VW scandal and D&O liability

January 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Manipulated emissions test data, irregularities in CO2 emissions: The VW scandal raises a number of questions. In particular, questions regarding accountability and management liability (D&O liability).

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Effectiveness of a handwritten will

January 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

In the absence of a will, the rules of intestate succession come into force. A handwritten will is only effective, however, if it meets certain conditions.

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M&A transactions on the rise

January 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

M&A transactions are on the rise in Germany. According to a report published by Wirtschaftswoche, mergers and acquisitions have gone up by 5.9 per cent in the first three quarters of 2015.

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OLG DĂŒsseldorf: Will drawn up prior to operation remains valid

January 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

In its judgment of August 19, 2015, the OLG DĂŒsseldorf (Higher Regional Court of DĂŒsseldorf) ruled that a will that was drawn up shortly before an operation remained valid even after the operation (Az.: I-3 Wx 191/14).

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Study on inheritances: Three trillion euros to be passed on by 2024

January 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Around three trillion euros will be passed on in Germany between 2015 and 2024. That is the finding of a study by the Deutsches Institut fĂŒr Altersvorsorge (German Institute for Retirement Provision).

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LAG Rheinland-Pfalz: Employer can designate place where work is to be performed

January 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Owing to its authority to give directions, an employer is allowed to designate the place where work is to be performed if no other arrangements have been made in the employment contract. That was the decision of the LAG Rheinland-Pfalz (Regional Labour Court of Rhineland-Palatinate).

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BAG: Employees cannot frustrate delivery of notice of termination in bad faith

January 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

In the field of employment law, a notice of termination is considered to have been received if it has entered the sphere of control of the recipient, who was thus able to receive notice of the dismissal.

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OLG Frankfurt: Permissibility of advertising long company tradition despite insolvency

January 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Advertising many years of company tradition may be permissible and not anti-competitive despite a temporary state of insolvency. That was the decision of the OLG [Oberlandesgericht] Frankfurt (Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt) (Az.: 6 U 69/15).

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LAG Hessen: Successive fixed-term employment contracts do not automatically give rise to right to pe

January 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

According to a recent ruling of the Landesarbeitsgericht Hessen (Regional Labour Court of Hesse), successive fixed-term employment contracts do not automatically give rise to a right to a permanent position (Az.: 2 Sa 1210/14).  

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OLG DĂŒsseldorf: Advertising with distinction “test winner” permissible

January 2016. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

According to a judgment of the OLG DĂŒsseldorf (Higher Regional Court of DĂŒsseldorf), a company is allowed to use the expression “test winner” in its advertising even if it has to share this distinction with other competitors (I-15 U 24/15).

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Contract of inheritance in lieu of will

December 2015. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

A testamentary disposition need not necessarily be laid out in a will. The testator and heir can conclude a contract of inheritance as an alternative.

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Berliner Testament and the appointment of final heirs

December 2015. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

In the case of a so-called “Berliner Testament” (Berlin will), spouses can mutually appoint each other as sole heirs. However, one should also remember to clearly appoint the final heirs.

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BGH: Copyright infringed by unlawful advertising

December 2015. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The Bundesgerichtshof (BGH) [German Federal Court of Justice] ruled in three separate cases on November 5, 2015 that it is possible for unlawful advertising alone to constitute an infringement of copyright law.

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Effective compliance management systems

December 2015. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The VW scandal involving manipulated emissions test data highlights the importance of effective compliance management systems. This is true for large corporations as well as small and medium-sized businesses.

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OLG Hamm prohibits sale of anti-competitive counterfeit handbags

November 2015. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

In its judgment of June 16, 2015, the OLG Hamm (Higher Regional Court of Hamm) ruled in favour of the French manufacturer of the original handbags in a case concerning trademark law (Az.: 4 U 32/14).

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BGH rules in favour of chocolate bears in case concerning trademark law

November 2015. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

In its judgment of September 23, 2015, the BGH (German Federal Court of Justice) ruled in a legal dispute involving trademark law in favour of chocolate teddies, which were said not to have infringed the rights associated with the wordmark “GoldbĂ€ren” (gold bears) (Az.: I ZR 105/14).

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Tax evasion: Investigators’ nets becoming ever more tightly knit – Voluntary disclosure a loopho

November 2015. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Whether it be untaxed illicit earnings or untaxed income from capital, tax evaders are taking a big risk. They can address the risk of being convicted with a voluntary declaration.

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Time is running out for concealed untaxed income from capital – Voluntary disclosure

November 2015. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

It is now almost impossible for untaxed income from capital in foreign accounts to remain concealed from the German exchequer. As long as the tax evasion has not yet been detected, a voluntary declaration can still be submitted.

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OLG Schleswig: Handwritten will needs to be legible

November 2015. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

A handwritten will has to be legible. Otherwise, it may not be effective according to a ruling of the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Schleswig [Higher Regional Court of Schleswig] of July 16, 2015 (Az.: 3 Wx 19/15).

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Tax evasion: Retroactive group inquiries increase risk of detection – Voluntary disclosure

November 2015. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Tax dodgers who have already closed their accounts with untaxed income from capital in Austria or Switzerland still need to worry about detection. Voluntary disclosure continues to present a way out.

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Testamentary capacity and dementia

November 2015. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Increasing life expectancy entails a rising number of dementia-related disorders. As a result, the problem of a lack of testamentary capacity in inheritance cases is becoming more acute.

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Voluntary disclosure is the only solution to tax evasion

November 2015. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Ever since the first CD on tax evaders was purchased in 2006, the number of voluntary declarations concerning tax evasion has risen dramatically. This remains the only way of returning to a state of tax compliance.

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Wills and intestate succession with today’s blended families

November 2015. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

In the absence of a will or contract of inheritance, the rules of intestate succession apply following the death of the testator. This can give rise to problems with today’s blended families.

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Tax evasion: Illicit earnings in foreign accounts – Solution is voluntary disclosure

November 2015. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

Voluntary declarations with respect to tax evasion have not come to an end this year, which indicates that untaxed income in foreign bank accounts is becoming a burden on those concerned.

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Real or forged will? – Ruling of the OLG Karlsruhe

November 2015. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

According to the OLG Karlsruhe (Higher Regional Court of Karlsruhe), if the authenticity of a will is disputed, it may be necessary for witnesses to be heard in addition to an expert assessment in order to determine whether the testamentary disposition is in fact authentic.

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LAG Köln: One insult does not justify dismissal on grounds of conduct

November 2015. Press Releases by GRP Rainer LLP (view listing).

The Landesarbeitsgericht Köln (Regional Labour Court of Cologne) has ruled that insulting one’s superior on one occasion does not by itself justify termination of an employment contract (Az.: 11 Sa 905/13).

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Legal Developments in Germany

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