As I have already written in various posts and on my info page, four rules should be observed when receiving warnings in competition or copyright law:
- The warning should always be taken seriously. Just send me the warning.
- Although short deadlines should not put you under pressure, these must nevertheless be taken into account. In competition law, short deadlines are usually permissible and a violation can result in expensive injunctions.
- The declaration of injunction attached to the warning should in no way be signed without me having examined it in advance. Even in the case of a legitimate warning, numerous traps and problems may lurk in the declaration of injunction.
- The warning and also the admonishing law firm should never be contacted in advance, neither by phone nor by e-mail. Please also do not try begging calls or anything like that.
The question of whether a warning is justified can be very complicated and there may be numerous strategic and legal reasons for at least making a modified declaration of injunction. For example, to avoid future process risk. However, there may also be very good reasons NOT to make a declaration of injunction, even though the actual claim is justified. The reason for this was only recently again in a UWG thing on a trading platform. A declaration of injunction can only be made effectively if one commits to a future contractual penalty. This has a very long effect, in doubt, indefinitely long, and can become due in the event of a single infringement. According to the so-called “New Hamburg Custom”, the amount of the contractual penalty is then determined by the creditor and the word appropriate in the wording is the prototype for an indeterminate legal concept. The height can therefore quickly be 4 digits or even 5 digits. In the event of a dispute, the competent regional court may be referred for review. However, this naturally leads to costs which the debtor must first bear.
Even in the case of a judgment against the admonished, a breach of the judgment can, of course, lead to costs, namely in the form of administrative fines, which the creditor may apply for. However, a debtor can defend himself against these through two instances, the so-called limitation period is much shorter (if the creditor does not immediately notice the new infringement) and while a contractual penalty would have to be paid to the potential competitor, a penalty is Fine – only – to the benefit of the treasury.
There are many other points to weigh up and, as a rule, such a consideration is not possible for a legal layman. The case law and procedural tactics in competition law and copyright law are so great that even most fellow lawyers can rarely see everything.
If you get a warning, you should not save at the wrong end; just as a properly operating entrepreneur should in principle plan a budget for legal advice and litigation. Anything else would be negligent!