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IP rights on the Internet.
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Web CONTENT

Regarding marks, signs, banners and links
or other webpage content such as text, pictures and sound, the owner of a corresponding trademark right or other IP-right has the same legitimate claims as mentioned in the pages concerning domains.

Grounds
Generally, marks, signs, banners and links can be infringements of IP-rights such as trademarks, company names, designs and copy rights, if these signs are used in the market and if they are identical or confusingly similar to the respective IP-rights or if the use of these marks, signs, banners and links would take unfair advantage of, or be detrimental to, the distinctive character or the reputation of the corresponding IP-right without due cause.

Legally Valid Use
According to a recent unpublished decision of the Federal German Patent Court, the use of a domain and/or sign, trademark, etc. on the internet may also be deemed to establish a legally valid use. This could be of considerable importance for trademark owners, because the validity of the registration of a German trademark depends on the fact that the trademark has been used or must have been put into genuine use by its proprietor in Germany within a period of five years preceding the assertion of claims.

Assert Claims
Under German legislation, claims based on IP-rights can be asserted against the infringer if the place of infringement is in Germany or the residence of the infringer is in Germany. In the case that the infringer has no residence in Germany, claims can also be asserted against the German Internet service provider of a German .de domain.

Outside the Court
According to German legal practice, a warning letter shall be sent to the infringer before legal action can be taken, so that the conflict may be solved outside the court.

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Besides contentious cases, the use of a domain and/or sign, trademark, etc. on the internet may also establish a legally valid use.
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