Attorney-at-Law Michael Horak, graduate engineer (Electrical Engineering), LL.M. (European Law)

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Main areas of practice:

Intellectual Property Rights (IP rights): patents, registered designs, utility models, trademarks, semiconductor topographies, plant varieties, as well as copyright and know-how.

Technology law (online law, telecommunications law, etc.) or for instance computer law as such are not self-contained areas of law, nonetheless the technical aspects of these fields demand for special legal attention.

Advertising law (law on competition, regulation on discounts (repealed), regulation on free gifts (repealed), regulation on price indication, food and commodity goods law, pharmaceutical law, etc).

Main areas of interest:

Company law plays a significant role for every company. Both company set-ups and listed companies ought to comply with numerous complex legal regulations, the meaning of which can be understood and paid attention to in advance.

Criminal law in relation to business offences (white-collar crime) complements the abovementioned areas of practice and interest.

Intellectual Property Rights:

Ideas come into being and spread increasingly faster crossing all borders. Ideas as such cannot be protected – human thoughts will not be monopolised in the future, either. The transformation of ideas into innovations and cultural, economic or other processes can be protected by intellectual property rights (IP rights) and can be a significant value of a company or a legal proprietor. Various goals and strategies can be achieved by means of Intellectual Property rights management. These goals include among others market delimitation and demarcation against competitors (for example actively – by providing for protection by means of IP rights in a particular competitive area, or passively – by observing the market and the applications for IP protection filed by competitors, or – by adjusting IP rights to the corporate identity or to private goals in compliance with European and international regulations).

Computer and online law:

Computer law has not asserted itself as a separate area of law with its own regulations. This term is used to comprise issues relating to the internet (including e-commerce), hardware, software, as well as to consumers, retailers and manufacturers.

Law on competition:

Regardless of a particular marketing mix measure applied and of the medium used or industrial sector involved, advertising law is shaped by regulations such as the Act against Unfair Competition and the regulation on price indication, etc. Superimposed by European regulations (e.g. “comparative advertising”) and supplemented by norms relating to the market or the media, advertising law is on the one hand restricted by a number of regulations and on the other hand shaped by case law, similar to that in the Anglo-American legal system. As a result, if a lawyer developed a marketing measure as legally “waterproof” as possible, it would no longer be an “advertisement”. Nonetheless, the risk of legal consequences can be minimised for the majority of marketing measures by means of minor alterations especially during the planning phase.

Cartel law: Law on competition (commonly referred to as advertising law) contrary to cartel law, encourages competition. Therefore, cartel law is partly referred to as law on competition, although in reality there are only few areas of overlap between both areas of law: Speaking in simplified terms, antitrust law provides for the avoidance of cartels, whereas law on competition attempts at regulating individual publicity negotiations between market participants.

Special areas:

Foodstuffs law – articles of food are substances which are intended to be consumed by human beings in an unprocessed, processed or prepared condition. The delimitation of dietary supplements from medicinal products is often very difficult and at the same time decisive as far as marketability is concerned.

Law relating to medical preparations – The Medical Preparations Act, The Law on the Advertising of Medicaments and the legal regulations for pharmacies are very sensitive areas of law, especially as far as advertising is concerned. They are also of special importance in the light of the reforms of the German health care system.

Telecommunications law: There is no standardised definition of the term „telecommunications”, and therefore the scope of telecommunications law varies according to definition. In any case, it comprises the Telecommunications Act.

Public procurement law is connected with law on competition and deals with the Standard Official Contracting Terms for Services, Standard Building Contract Terms, Standard Official Contracting Terms for Independent Professions, European public procurement law, some parts of the Non-Restraint of Trade Act (Cartel Act) and the Fees Ordinance for Architects and Engineers. Public procurement law provides an opportunity for competing enterprises to take action against legally incorrect procurement of public contracts.

Criminal law in relation to business offences (white-collar crime): The generic term “criminal law in relation to business offences” (or white-collar crime) comprises the application of criminal law in economic life. The main emphasis is on the offences listed in the Criminal Code but also on the relevant areas of the so-called criminal law statues in addition to those olisted in the Criminal Code. We are dealing here with e.g. the Regulatory Offences Act relating to Sanctioning of Enterprises, Penal Law in relation to Competition, Penal Law in relation to Foodstuffs, Penal Law in relation to Medical Preparations, Penal Law in relation to Insolvency and Penal Law in relation to Financial Markets. In the area of penal law in relation to fiscal offences, we are dealing first of all with tax evasion and lesser penalty in case of self-accusation of tax evasion.


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© 1998-2007 Attorney at law Michael Horak· Roscherstrasse 12 · 30161 Hannover · Germany
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