GRP Rainer LLP

Higher Regional Court of Karlsruhe Appears to Have Rejected Copyright Protection for Screen Masks

In doing so, the Court referred to the design aspects of a screen mask in the field of software.


Cologne, NRW -- (SBWIRE) -- 01/31/2013 -- GRP Rainer lawyers and tax advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Dusseldorf, Essen, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hanover, Munich, Stuttgart, Bremen Nuremberg and London conclude: In its decision of 14 April 2010 (Az. 6 U 46/09), the Karlsruhe Higher Regional Court rejected the protection of screen masks. The Higher Regional Court had to rule on the design of two screen masks. The complainant is arguably the market leader for the distribution of travel agency software. It brought an action against a competitor in this sector which allegedly distributes virtually identical screen masks for travel bookings. In the view of the complainant, the screen mask is likely to be an imitation. On this basis, the complainant then lodged claims under copyright before the Court against the competitor.

In justifying its claim, the complainant appeared to make reference to the provisions of copyright law relating to computer programs.

The Karlsruhe Higher Regional Court had to date reasonably assumed that a screen mask can be assessed as a computer program. The Higher Regional Court has, however, seemingly changed its jurisprudence through this latest judgment. The Court is now of the opinion that results obtained through a program are not subject to the protection of copyright law. According to the Court’s view, it appears that this now also applies to screen masks.

Today, IT and the Internet pervade virtually all areas of life - both in private and professional spheres. Qualified legal advice is becoming more and more important here, since IT and Internet law do not constitute independent areas of law and are therefore not subject to a uniform set of rules. In fact, they consist of distinct categories of national and international legal systems which influence one another.

In the case of legal IT disputes, it is particularly important to translate technically complex facts of cases into a language that is coherent and conforms to law. Due to the scope and complexity of the material, aggrieved parties should turn to a lawyer who is versed in IT law. A lawyer can support you regarding questions of IT law in an advisory capacity.

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GRP Rainer LLP is an international firm of lawyers and tax advisors who are specialists in commercial law. The firm counsels commercial and industrial companies and corporations, as well as associations, small- and mid-sized businesses, self-employed freelancers and private individuals worldwide from offices Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Dusseldorf, Essen, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hannover, Munich, Stuttgart, Bremen, Nuremberg and London UK.

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