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Competition law



Competition law in Germany deals with the regulation of competition between companies on the market. It aims to ensure fair and undistorted conditions of competition and to protect consumers from unfair business practices.

Main components of competition law

1. law against restraints of competition (GWB)

The GWB is the core of competition law in Germany. It contains regulations on the control of mergers, abuse control in the case of market-dominant companies and the prohibition of anti-competitive agreements.

  • Prohibition of cartels: The ARC prohibits agreements between companies that restrict competition, such as price agreements or territorial divisions.
  • Control of mergers: The ARC contains provisions on the control of mergers and acquisitions to prevent excessive market concentration.
  • Abuse control: Companies that hold a dominant position in the market are subject to special rules of conduct. They must not abuse their market power to squeeze out competitors or exploit consumers.

2. law against unfair competition (UWG)

The UWG is another important component of German competition law and aims to prevent unfair business practices and protect fair competition.

  • Misleading advertising and aggressive business practices: The UWG prohibits misleading advertising and aggressive business practices that mislead or pressure consumers.
  • Protection against imitation: The UWG protects companies against unfair imitation of their products or services.
  • Customer protection: The UWG contains provisions to protect consumers from unreasonable harassment, such as unsolicited telephone advertising.



The Federal Cartel Office is the central authority for the enforcement of competition law in Germany. It supervises mergers, combats cartels and monitors the behavior of dominant companies.


The ordinary courts are responsible for the civil enforcement of the UWG. Companies can go to court if they believe a competitor is using unfair competitive practices.

Relevance for companies and consumers

Competition law is of great importance to companies, as it ensures fair competition and promotes innovation. Companies must comply to avoid penalties and reputational damage.

Competition law is important for consumers because it protects them from unfair business practices and ensures that they benefit from a diverse range of products and fair prices.

European competition law

It is important to note that in addition to German competition law, European competition law also plays a role, especially for cross-border situations and companies with a significant market share in the EU. The European Commission is responsible for enforcing EU competition law, which is similar to German competition law in many respects, but also contains its own regulations.


Competition law in Germany is a complex area of law that aims to promote fair competition between companies and protect consumers. It consists of a large number of regulations, in particular the Act against Restraints of Competition (GWB) and the Unfair Competition Act (UWG). Companies must be aware of the relevant regulations and ensure that they act in accordance with competition law. Consumers benefit from the protections offered by competition law and can turn to the Federal Cartel Office or the courts in the event of violations.

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