The District Court in Hamburg ("the Court") has issued
an injunction against Bauer Media Group ("Bauer"), a
leading European magazine press group (which publishes over 300
magazine titles in Europe, of which at least 46 are printed for the
German market), restraining Bauer from using the logo "Top 100
Titles" on 26 of their magazines. The "Top 100
Titles" refers to the list of the top 100 magazine titles
voted for in a German poll. The injunction also covers the manner
in which Bauer urges the German regional press wholesalers
("Pressegrossisten") to sell its magazines, by displaying
the "Top 100 Titles" in full view when on display. It is
argued this gives such magazines a competitive advantage. Bauer is
liable for the infringement of the Pressegrossisten, because it
called upon the wholesalers to support its "Top 100
Titles" initiative despite being aware of such conduct being
The Court ruled on an application for an injunction from
competing press group Gruner+Jahr, issuing the injunction for two
Firstly, the Court ruled that the logo was misleading according
to Art. 5 of the Act Against Unfair Competition ("UWG"),
as end consumers could be lead to believe that the logo denoted
Bauer as the publisher of all of the "Top 100 Titles",
rather than only highlighting that 26 of its titles had been voted
as belonging to the top 100 titles in Germany.
Secondly, the Court ruled that the "Top 100 Titles"
initiative infringed Article 20 of the Act Against Restraints of
Competition ("GWB") and constituted a violation of the
obligation by the Pressegrossisten (who are dominant undertakings
in Germany) to treat all competitors on the magazine market
equally. Bauer urged the Pressegrossisten to display all those
magazines bearing the "Top 100 Titles" logo allowing full
view of its entire cover, rather than all those titles which had
been voted into the top 100 titles (thereby only including those
magazines which participated in the Bauer initiative). Therefore
the Court did not see any objective justification for the
discriminatory treatment by the Pressegrossisten.
To view Community Week, Issue 470 – 7 May 2010
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