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Press Releases from GRP Rainer LLP (55 total)

GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte – Experience in establishing companies

Choosing the right corporate form when establishing a company can contribute a great deal to the economic success of the business. We at the commercial law firm GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte advise numerous businesses on company formation and takeovers as well as in the event of a change of partners or shareholders. In our experience, the partners or shareholders frequently neglect one critical point amidst all the euphoria: choosing the right corporate

OLG Köln: Will written with non-dominant hand valid

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). In addition to preparing a notarized will, a testamentary disposition can also be handwritten. To this end, the will needs to be written

OLG Köln: Only serious misconduct justifies withdrawal from contract of inherit …

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. In the absence of a will or contract of inheritance, the rules of intestate succession apply automatically following the death of the testator. If these run contrary to the testator’s wishes, a testamentary disposition

Commercial agent’s claim for compensation following voluntary termination

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. When a commercial agency agreement is brought to an end, the commercial agent often has a right to compensation. This is because the company in a lot of cases continues to profit from the client contacts

Insolvency: BGH bolsters creditors‘ rights

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). According to insolvency avoidance law, the insolvency administrator can reclaim payments made by the insolvent debtor from the period prior to insolvency. This has resulted in legal uncertainty for payees and in

Make arrangements for inheritance early on in patchwork families

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. German succession law continues to be tailored to the traditional family model. Under the rules of intestate succession, this means that when one of the spouses dies

Wills in cases involving childless married couples

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. It is a misconception that the surviving spouse automatically becomes the sole heir following the death of his or her partner in cases concerning childless married couples. If no will or contract of inheritance

GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte: Experience drafting Berliner Testaments

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). In the absence of a will or contract of inheritance, the rules of intestate succession apply. We at the law firm GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte note that this generally means that the spouse inherits half of

Straw man managing director held responsible for breaches of duty

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. In its judgment of May 10, 2017, the OLG Celle held that a managing director who is merely a front and leaves it to third parties to fulfil his responsibilities will be held

Submit a voluntary declaration leading to immunity for tax evasion while you sti …

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. A lot of tax evaders have already taken advantage of the opportunity to submit a voluntary declaration leading to immunity. While the number of voluntary declarations has dropped significantly since the requirements associated with voluntary disclosure became more stringent as of

Dismissal with immediate effect for competing business activity valid

If an employee acquires a major stake in a rival firm, his employer can issue him with a notice of dismissal with immediate effect. If it has good cause for doing so, an employer can terminate an employment relationship by issuing exceptional notice of dismissal with immediate effect. We at the commercial law firm GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte note that this condition may be met if an employee carries out some form

GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte: Experience in enforcing claims following trademark vi …

If a registered trademark is infringed, it is possible to take action against this. GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte is experienced in enforcing and fending off claims arising from trademark violations. Trademarks create greater brand recognition among consumers and in doing so foster customer loyalty. It is therefore crucial for businesses to have their trademarks protected to prevent competitors from profiting from their success. As a commercial law firm with a great deal of

European Commission imposes fine on Google for antitrust violations

The European Commission has imposed a fine totalling 2.42 billion euros on the internet giant Google for violating antitrust law. The European Commission came to the conclusion that the internet company was abusing its dominant market position as a search engine operator. Specifically, the company was said to have favoured its own price comparison service in relation to those of competitors. The former was positioned right at the top of search

Dismissal with immediate effect after constantly working up working hours defici …

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. A lot of companies have since moved away from a system of rigid working hours and now offer flexible working hours. That being said, the working hours owed by an employee, among other things, are

Anti-competitive advertising featuring flat rate for tooth cleaning and bleachin …

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). In the instant case, the OLG Frankfurt held that offering tooth cleaning and bleaching services at a flat rate price violates both the provisions of the fee schedule for German dentists and competition

GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte: Assessing managers’ liability risk

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. When a crisis or insolvency occurs, the manager’s accountability and thus also his personal liability are issues that ever more rapidly take centre stage. Liability claims directed at executive boards, supervisory boards or managing directors can arise even in cases involving simple negligence.

GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte: Experience in antitrust law – 9th amendment to the …

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. In March, the Bundestag and Bundesrat, Germany’s lower and upper houses of parliament, passed the 9th amendment to the Gesetz gegen Wettbewerbsbeschränkungen (GWB) [Act Against Restraints of Competition]. We at the commercial law firm GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte note that this entails a tightening of

GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte: Assessing obligation to make social security payments …

Whether a managing director is obliged to make social security contributions depends on various factors. GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte has carried out an assessment of the obligation to make social security payments. Whether a managing director is obligated to make contributions to social security depends on whether he is self-employed or classed as an employee. We at the law firm GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte note that this is not based merely on the

Trademark law – Pear too strong a reminder of an apple

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. Trademarks are of great importance to businesses. They create brand recognition among consumers and help to distinguish a company’s products and services from those of competitors.

Properly preparing a will

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. A lot of people put off thinking about what they want to happen with their estate after their death and in so doing forgo preparing a will or

OLG Hamburg on misleading advertising – No fees means no fees

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]. A bank had made an offer that sounded tempting, advertising that no cash withdrawal fees would be incurred when withdrawing money anywhere in the world with its credit card. The

Making timely arrangements for business succession

The demographic trend poses a serious challenge to medium-sized businesses, particularly in relation to the unavoidable issue of making arrangements for business succession. A study from the year 2015 conducted by KfW, the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (Reconstruction Loan Corporation), shows that around 1.3 million owners of mid-sized businesses were 55 or older at that point in time, with this trend set to continue in the coming years. The problem is compounded

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

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). That being said, the BAG also placed restrictions on the extent to which covert video footage can be used. The Court held that encroachments in the form of concealed video surveillance on privacy law with respect to

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

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. The instant case before the Oberlandesgericht Hamm concerned an exhibition piece at a furniture store. The store had furnished a set of couches with a price tag featuring a notice

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

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. While the number of voluntary declarations has gone done noticeably in recent months, this should in no way give tax evaders a false sense of security. The cross-border fight against tax evasion continues. In the period since

GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte – Assessing trademark violations

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. Trademarks result in greater brand recognition among consumers and are accordingly of great significance to businesses. It is therefore all the more important to seek protection for one’s own brand and take a rigorous approach to trademark violations. Having said that, it

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

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). By drafting a will, the testator is able to circumvent the rules of intestate succession and personally appoint his heir. While it is not absolutely necessary for the

BAG: Dismissal at request of works council

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). The BAG held that if the courts grant the works council’s formal request vis-à-vis the employer to dismiss an employee, this fulfils the requirement for there to be an urgent operational need justifying the

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

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. Since the rules for voluntary disclosure in relation to tax evasion were tightened in 2016, there has been a clear drop in the number of tax dodgers reporting themselves.

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

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). Employment contracts can include post-contractual prohibitions on competition. In this case, the employee commits to not working for a competitor for a specified period time after the

BGH: Health claims in relation to mineral water need to comply with the Health C …

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). Advertising featuring health claims pertaining to mineral water also needs to adhere to the requirements set out in the Health Claims Regulation. That was the verdict of the Bundesgerichtshof with respect to an

LAG Hamm: Dismissal without notice for breaching duties to cooperate effective

Employees have duties to cooperate. These can also cover examinations by company doctors. If these duties are breached, there is then the prospect of dismissal without notice. GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London conclude: If an employee repeatedly breaches his duties to cooperate, his employer may be entitled to issue exceptional notice of dismissal with immediate effect. That was the

BAG on discrimination under Germany’s General Equal Treatment Act

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). GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London conclude: According to Germany’s Allgemeines Gleichbehandlungsgesetz (AGG) [General Act on Equal Treatment], it is not permissible to discriminate against employees based

Exceptional notice terminating the employment relationship for good cause

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. GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London conclude: Unlike in the case of ordinary notice of dismissal, exceptional notice of dismissal can normally be issued without having to observe notice

Bundeskartellamt imposes fines for illegal price fixing

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. GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London conclude: Manufacturers in various sectors constantly try to issue merchants with price specifications. However, this is detrimental to consumers because it restricts competition among merchants and results in products not

OLG Dresden: Representation or accompaniment at general meeting of shareholders

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. GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London conclude: The general meeting of the shareholders is the

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

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). GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London conclude: If an employer issues exceptional notice of dismissal, in most cases it will also issue ordinary

BAG: Exceptional notice of dismissal for breach of trust effective

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. GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London conclude: A cashier lost her job over a few euros. She had managed to issue herself with deposit vouchers without having submitted empty containers for these. To his

BAG on employer’s default of acceptance

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. GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London conclude: In principle, it is the employer that bears any operational risks. That

Misleading advertising: Exclusive must mean exclusive

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. GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London conclude: A cosmetics manufacturer had advertised a number of its products as exclusively available at pharmacies. While the company

OLG Frankfurt: The term “centre” potentially misleading

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). GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London conclude: In the case before the Oberlandesgericht Frankfurt,

BGH: Notarized agreement decisive, not the draft agreement

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). GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London conclude: A purchase agreement for real estate needs

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

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. GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London conclude: In principle, employees are entitled to a certain number of holidays per year. The issue of whether employees

Company officially removed from commercial register due to lack of assets

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. GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London conclude: Should a company no longer have any assets that can be drawn on for the

Exemption from liability for GmbH managing directors

The managing director of a Gesellschaft mit beschränkter 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. GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London conclude: The managing director of a GmbH

Business succession post inheritance tax reform

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. GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London conclude: The so-called “Gesetz zur Anpassung des Erbschaft- und Schenkungsteuergesetzes an die Rechtsprechung des BVerfG” [Act amending the

BAG: Fixed-term employment contract pursuant to court settlement

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. GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London conclude: In the absence of an objective justification, the maximum duration of a fixed-term employment contract cannot exceed

Exceptional notice of dismissal for working hours fraud

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. GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London conclude: An employment contract can be terminated with exceptional

Bundeskartellamt investigates ticket allocation for international football fixtu …

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. GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London conclude: For fans of the German national team, it can sometimes prove

Eye-catching advertising featuring misleading guarantee promises

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]. GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London conclude: Clear guidelines relating to what is termed “Blickfangwerbung” (attention-grabbing/eye-catching advertising) had already been set out by the Bundesgerichtshof

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