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Individual contractors are not managing directors

The subject is actually ancient and yet I see it again and again. Just in a current mandate, an incorrectly executed SEO order.

Many, just self-employed people give a fantasy name in the imprint of a website, such as “Super Stardesign Europe” or something like that. If no further information is provided, this is already problematic within the meaning of Section 5 TMG and may be admonishing. It may be acceptable if the name is really the company. From a legal point of view, the company is the “name of the merchant” (Section 17 hGB). For this, it must not be surprising, however, the merchant according to the Commercial Code, which is by no means every trader/self-employed person or should be even (it involves numerous other disadvantages to be a merchant).

However, it becomes completely absurd when the following is stated in the imprint, on invoices, on business cards or other business documents, “Super Stardesign Europe – Managing Director Max Mustermann”.

This is, often enough, legal humbug, because a sole proprietor is not a managing director. It can clearly lead to a warning, because the designation gives rise to an injunction under Paragraph 8(4) of the 3 No. 1, para. 1 sentence 1, section 3 para. 1, Section 5 para. 1 Sentence 2 No. 3 UWG.

A sole proprietory can only have one “owner”. Even if you have employees as a sole proprietorandand and want to hire someone who manages daily business, you can only give that person a so-called procuration in accordance with Section 48 I. The Prokura authorizes in accordance with Section 49 para. 1 HGB in principle on all types of judicial and extrajudicial transactions and legal acts which the operation of a commercial trade entails. A procura would also have to be registered in the commercial register.

The situation is different only in the case of a GbR and, of course, other corporations.

Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel is a lawyer and entrepreneur specializing in copyright law, competition law and IT/IP law, with a focus on games, esports, media and blockchain.

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