The Quick and Easy Guide to German and EU Intellectual Property Law, Trademarks and Copyright
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Facebook vs. StudiVZ

In the case Facebook vs StudiVZ the Regional Court Dusseldorf ruled against Facebook, allowing StudiVZ to continue their service.

StudiVZ is a German social networking site similar to Facebook. The very similarity was also the reason for Facebook’s legal action against StudiVZ. The court ruled that despite a similarity of look & feel, StudiVZ does not misrepresent its origin and is no unfair imitation of Facebook. Facebook did not have enough profile in the German market when StudiVZ came to market in 2005. In so far as Facebook claimed that StudiVZ had unlawfully copied proprietary php code, Facebook did not provide enough evidence to prove a copyright infringement.

(Regional Court Dusseldorf 16.06.2009, 33 O 374/08)

So, the German tradition of scouting new Internet trends in the US and bringing them to market in Germany will continue. Sad but true, there are many successful Internet start ups in Germany but probably less than a handful genuine German “first movers”. The rest is “me too”.

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July 1, 2009   No Comments