Being from the civil law world, I am of course very fond of codes (not as in Da Vinci Code, more as in Civil Code, Criminal Code, etc). And since I am even fonder of intellectual property law, I don't mind telling you that this piece of news makes me almost as giddy as a school girl: Later this year, a model law on intellectual property ("Modellgesetz für geistiges Eigentum") is going to be published, proposing the creation of a comprehensive German intellectual property code. The model law is authored by Professor Hans-Jürgen Ahrens (left) and Dr Mary-Rose McGuire (right), both of University of Osnabrück, and the publishers are sellier.european law publishers in cooperation with GRUR (German Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property).
There are currently seven different intellectual property acts in Germany (the usual suspects: copyright, trade marks, designs, patents, utilitiy models; and the slightly more exotic ones I sometimes forget about: plant varieties and semi-conductors), all of which have developed separately and been amended at different times and under different circumstances. As a result, the implementation of the Enforcement Directive (Directive 2004/48/EC) was quite a cumbersome affair that led both to further fragmentation and the insertion of virtually identical provisions seven times over. Drawing inspiritation rather than frustration from this state of affairs, the authors decided to form a research team in order to come up with a solution that avoids unnecessary divergences as well as needless repetition.
According to its introduction, which has already been made available by the publishers here, the model law consists of ten books. Book 1 contains a general part with material provisions that are common to all intellectual property rights. Book 2 does the same for procedural issues. Books 3 to 9 are largely made up of the material law as it stands today, minus the provisions that have become part of Books 1 or 2. Book 10A contains the law on employee inventions, and Book 10B proposes an alternative possible transformation of that law into a new general law on employee creations.
Book 1 is particularly interesting, given that it tries to stake out a common ground for the sometimes radically different IP rights. One rather ambitious aim pursued with Book 1 is to come up with general requirements for and limitations of protection. Another aim is to close existing loopholes, for instance in respect of supplementary protection of IP and protection for secret know-how under unfair competition law, the economic exploitation of personality rights, and the protection of organisers of major sporting and cultural events against the making of unauthorised recordings. General provisions on civil remedies and criminal sanctions including customs seizures are also included, as well as general rules on the legal transfer of rights and the granting of licences.