What is competition law

Competition law

Generic term antitrust law and law against unfair competition.

Specialized in commercial law. In the area of ​​competition law, a distinction is made between unfair competition law and antitrust law. The subject of competition law is the protection of free competition for entrepreneurs and consumer protection. Antitrust law, on the other hand, is about protecting the free market organization against restrictions of competition. The law of unfair competition includes forms of unfair and misleading advertising, discounts and free gifts, special events and special offers (advertising law). The legal basis is the law against unfair competition (UWG) and special regulations (bonus regulations, price information regulations, etc.). According to § 1 UWG, immoral conduct in business dealings for the purposes of competition is not permitted. This general clause requires an order of the individual cases from jurisprudence and practice. Catching customers is deception through misleading advertising, e.g. false self-promotion, decoy offers, faking purchase advantages, camouflaging sales or advertising measures; Furthermore, coercion through coercion, threats or psychological pressure, annoyance through unsolicited telephone, fax or e-mail advertising, sending unsolicited goods, customer bribery through free gifts, product samples, coupling transactions, advertising with aleatoric stimuli, e.g. competitions and prize competitions, emotional and exploitation of trust, progressive customer acquisition, etc. Disability occurs in the forms of sales, advertising, licensing and purchase impediments. Systematic price undercutting and boycotts are also part of it. Cases of discrimination and derogatory comparative advertising are also seen as an unfair obstruction. Exploitation is the exploitation of a good reputation or the assumption of someone else's service. If there is an industrial property right, the special regulations of trademark or design law take precedence. Other entrepreneurial achievements that have been achieved with the expenditure of time, cost and effort enjoy competition law protection against slavish imitation. A breach of the law is viewed as unfair if the aim is to achieve a competitive advantage in a targeted manner. This happens primarily through violations of the law, e.g. against the drug advertising law, drug or food law, labeling regulations, but also against the price information regulation, the shop closing law or the foreign trade law. The breach of contractual obligations can also be unfair, e.g. in the case of systematic poaching of executive employees. Market disruptions are on the verge of antitrust law. For example, the mass distribution of original goods, price war methods and general obstacles to competition are to be viewed as unfair behavior. Individual elements of unfair competition are misleading advertising, impermissible advertising and sales methods, impermissible special events and the disclosure of trade secrets. In the event of a competition infringement, not only the competing companies, but also chambers and associations have a right to cease and desist. Competition law is increasingly influenced by European business law.

The entirety of the legal norms relating to competition, primarily regulated in the Act against Unfair Competition (UWG; Act of June 7, 1909; RGB1. P. 499) and in the Act against Restraints of Competition (GWB; Act as amended on February 20, 1909; RGB1. 1990; Federal Law Gazette I, 235; antitrust law). European competition law (Art. 85 ff. EEC Treaty) is also gaining in importance. Literature: Baumbach, A.IHefermehl, W, competition law, 16th edition, Munich 1990. Gloy, W, Handbuch des competition law, Munich 1986. Immenga, U./Mestmäcker, E.-J., law against competition restrictions, 2. Aufl., Munich 1992. Fikentscher, W., Commercial Law, 2 volumes, Munich 1983.

The competition law is regulated in the "Law against Unfair Competition (UWG)". It is to be distinguished from antitrust law, which is regulated in the “Law against Restraints of Competition (GWB)”. Both laws protect competition, but under different aspects. The GWB wants to ensure that there is competition at all (i.e. to prevent monopolies and price agreements in markets with only a few providers), the UWG wants to combat unfair competitive actions by individual providers in a functioning market. There are not only substantive, but also structural differences between these two laws: In the GWB, authorities monitor compliance with the law, namely the Federal Cartel Office, the economic ministries of the federal states and the European Commission with regard to European antitrust regulations. In contrast, there is no monitoring authority within the scope of the UWG. The only possibility of sanction is a lawsuit by a competitor and by associations specified in more detail in the law against immoral acts of competition. The most important standard in the UWG is the general clause in § 3 UWG. There it says: "Unfair competitive acts that are capable of affecting competition to the detriment of competitors, consumers or other market participants not only insignificantly, are inadmissible." Concrete examples of competition violations are listed in Sections 4 to 7 UWG. Competition law is a branch of intellectual property law.

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