Businesses providing IT services have a new reason to exercise care when choosing a marketing direction. If a business infringes the trademark rights of a competitor, it can quickly receive a warning letter. A recent decision of the Düsseldorf Regional Court shows that the whole episode can quickly escalate and a business can find itself facing costly injunction proceedings.
The case concerned trademark infringements by a business specialising in software development, hardware distribution, IT services and various other IT-related activities. The business operated under the name “A”. A competitor felt its rights under trademark law were being infringed and brought injunction proceedings.
In its decision on 6 March 2013, the Düsseldorf Regional Court granted an injunction which prevents the business from using the name in further operations (see Beschluss vom 06.03.2013, Az. 37 O 110/12). The court also decided that should the business contravene this injunction, enforcement proceedings could be commenced. If so, the business could face a fine of up to 250,000 euros and the operator of the business could face a prison sentence of up to 6 months. When deciding the basis upon which legal costs could be claimed, the court declared that valuing the claim at 50,000 euros was justified. As is usual with such court decisions, no further reasoning was given.