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The Netherlands - Germany 1-1

A trader in vehicle materials imports goods from Germany via a Dutch importer. The importer actively provides the trader with brochures and images for use in his webshop. After using the images unhindered for years, the lawyer of the German manufacturer sends a summons to stop the use of all images.

According to the letter, the trader is infringing on the manufacturer’s copyrights, because he is using the images without the manufacturer’s permission (and therefore illegally). The letter contains a declaration of abstention, which includes a large fine.

Full of disbelief, the trader decides not to respond. After all, it was the importer that provided him with those images. A few weeks later, the manufacturer initiates proceedings against the trader before the court in Munich. In close collaboration with our Legal Netlink partner office in Munich, we quickly and successfully put forward a defence (in German) on behalf of the trader.

We argue that the trader had a right to assume, in accordance with Dutch law, that he could use the photos. According to German law, which is obviously what the German court is applying, this is not the case. In Germany, permission must always be obtained first. For this reason, the decision was made to settle with the party making the claim. Our client is still using the images today, legally.