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Court Decisions

GERMANY: Creating New Property Rights on the Basis of General Legal Concepts - Without Limits?

  1. Prof. Dr. Thomas Dreier


In two cases recently decided by two different senates of the German Federal Supreme Court (Bundesgerichtshof, BGH), the following issue was raised: To what extent can the filming of sports events organized by someone else, on the one hand, and the photographing of someone else’s physical property, on the other hand, be legally controlled by the organizer of the sports event and the owner of the property respectively? In its “” decision, the first senate of the Federal Supreme Court concluded that the act of filming sports events does not constitute an act of unfair competition as such, and hence is allowed even without the consent of the organizer of the sports event in question. However, the fifth senate, in its “Prussian gardens and parks” decision, held that photographing someone else’s property is subject to the consent of the owner of the grounds, provided the photographs are taken from a spot situated on the owner’s property. In spite of their different outcomes, the two cases do not necessarily contradict each other. Rather, read together, they may well lead to an unwanted – and unjustified – extension of exclusive protection, thus creating a new “organizer’s” IP right.




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JIPITEC – Journal of Intellectual Property, Information Technology and E-Commerce Law
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