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BHL Bogen
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Thursday, September 29, 2016


While the world famous Oktoberfest in Munich draws to its end, Invest in Bavaria, the investment promotion agency of Germany’s largest state hosted its 5th Annual Investors conference on September 28th 2016 in New York. The OktoberINVESTfest aims to foster innovation and transatlantic investment by enabling financiers to learn about selected high quality American and German unique investment opportunities, both public and private in the sectors of life science and IT.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Is my contract BREXIT-Proof?

The negating referendum vote about the continued membership of the UK on June 23, 2016 was a real thunderbolt for the entire European Union. There is a high degree of uncertainty and disruption. No one knows for sure what the political, economic, social, and last but not least, legal consequences of Brexit will be. The UK and EU will need a lot of time to negotiate the exit provisions. This is an attempt to illuminate the nebulous situation for commercial contracts.
First of all, in all likelihood, the Brexit is not going to have a fundamental impact on the most recent contracts. Those will survive and continue to operate post-Brexit.
In particular, there is a reasonable degree of predictability that the Brexit has no material effect on a contractual choice of English law clause. Such agreements are likely to continue to be upheld by the courts in England and the EU. If, however, a contract does not have a choice of law clause, the contract parties should be aware that English courts and EU courts will follow different paths to determine which law applies to a contract in the future.
In addition, the choice conferring jurisdiction on the English courts as well as an arbitration clause, are likely to continue to be respected in England and in the EU. Without a choice of venue clause, the legal situation may change. It will depend on the upcoming agreements between the UK and EU and whether the presently applicable Brussels Regulation will be upheld in the future.
This situation demonstrates perfectly how important it is for contractual parties to agree on the applicable law and jurisdiction for their agreement and clearly express it in their contract. Also the parties may be advised to clearly state if the choice of venue is exclusive or non-exclusive.
Though most contracts will continue to be in force, it is advisable for companies to undertake proactive due diligence on their commercial deals and begin assessing the effect that Brexit may have. For this reason and also for the negotiation of new commercial contracts, the following points could increase in importance. As for trade relations between the EU and the UK, it seems likely that trade barriers may increase. That will cause more costs. In addition, Brexit could have an impact on one's ability to travel. The freedom of UK citizens to travel within Europe and vice versa may be limited. Also, currency fluctuations can be expected in the future, which would affect the overall contract value.
To put it in a nutshell, there is no solid reason to worry about a sudden voiding of existing contracts. Nevertheless, Brexit will require legal caution in handling contractual terms and conditions which BridgehouseLaw LLP is prepared to offer.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Meldepflichten bei grenzüberschreitenden Geldtransfers

Grundsätzlich kann jedermann ohne Beschränkung Zahlungen ins Ausland vornehmen und Geld aus dem Ausland empfangen. Allerdings gilt es dabei gesetzliche Meldevorgaben im Außenwirtschaftsverkehr zu beachten. Inländer haben grundsätzlich Zahlungen welche sie an Ausländer leisten (oder für deren Rechnung) sowie eingehende Zahlungen, die sie von Ausländern (oder für deren Rechnung) erhalten, zu melden, falls diese einen Betrag von 12.500 Euro oder den Gegenwert übersteigen.
Die Begriffe Inländer und Ausländer beziehen sich dabei nicht auf die Staatsangehörigkeit, sondern auf den Wohnsitz bzw. den gewöhnlichen Aufenthalt einer natürlichen Person oder den Unternehmenssitz eines Unternehmens. Der Begriff Zahlung meint nicht nur die tatsächliche Bewegung von Geld, sondern auch die Aufrechnung und Verrechnung. Sogar das Einbringen von Sachen und Rechten in Unternehmen ist erfasst.
Nicht meldepflichtig sind dagegen Ausfuhrerlöse, Waren-einfuhrzahlungen und Zahlungen, die Kredite mit einer Laufzeit von unter einem Jahr betreffen. Die Meldung kann elektronisch über das kostenfreie, elektronische Standard-meldeverfahren 'AMS' der Bundesbank zur Außenwirtschafts-statistik für Deutschland eingereicht werden.
Die Meldung dient ausschließlich der Erstellung der Zahlungs-bilanz der BRD und der Europäischen Währungsunion. Insbesondere erfolgt keine Weitergabe an das Finanzamt.
Die Meldepflicht sollte nicht als unwichtig abgetan werden, denn wer vorsätzlich oder fahrlässig keine Meldung macht, oder diese nicht den gesetzlichen Anforderungen entspricht, handelt ordnungswidrig und es droht ein Bußgeld bis zu 30.000 Euro.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Who gets to decide whether you can rebuild your own building?

Since you are the owner of the building, it probably crosses your mind first that it should be you  who gets to decide, because who else would have an interest in what your building looks like? Well, architects might.
According to the Copyright Law, architectural works are protected and considered the individual work of the architect, 17 U.S.C. 102(a)(8). This raises the question whether maybe the architect has a saying in your plans.

First of all, the Copyright Law does not protect every building
's design. Copyright protection is only valid for buildings which have been created after 1990, which are original, and were designed with creativity - containing something new or special, something out of the ordinary.  
If the building falls under the copyright protection, the architect has the exclusive right to reproduce or prepare another work with the same design. Nevertheless, an architect cannot object to the plans of the owner to make alterations or to even tear the building down,17 U.S.C.120. Concluding that, if not the architect has contracted for greater rights, it is finally the owner who gets to decide about what happens to the building in terms of alterations.

Things are a little different in Germany. Copyright Law protects architecture as long as it is a personal creation of the author and as long as it is an original design, which shows a new or unique way of esthetics. However, the protection itself is different.
An architect can in fact prevent their design from deformation if it would affect their intellectual or personal interests. This would be the case if the alteration changed the esthetic overall impression of the building. However, the right does not embrace the complete destruction of a building. Even so, coming down to esthetic interests you may not make changes on the building without approval of the architect. Otherwise, the architect may claim damages.
This clearly contradicts the interests of the owner who claims the right to alter their property to their ideas and needs. In terms of deciding which interest prevails, one will have to look at the intensity and permanence of the alterations.

Friday, September 09, 2016

Do you have a right to be forgotten?

Recently, a plaintiff in the US sued search engines because after running his name through the search engine's services, the top results had included links to filings from various previous legal actions he had filed. The plaintiff 's possible future employer had seen those results and decided not to hire him.
It is an interesting question whether one can actually do anything about search results concerning former litigations. In the US one simply cannot.

Search engines are granted immunity from liability, as long as they are an interactive computer service displaying information from other information content providers, section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
This means that the plaintiff's claim was dismissed and his many former litigation filings will stay where they are - online and visible to everyone. Several other courts have already come to the same conclusion about litigation material. Personal litigation conduct becomes part of an individual's permanent record. There is no such thing as a "right to be forgotten" in the US.

The right to be forgotten, however, is a right granted by the EU. Exercising this right, one may force search engines or data operators to "forget" certain personal data by deleting or de-indexing it. This law was introduced in 2014 when the European Court of Justice decided in its ruling against Google that data protection laws do apply to search engines.

You may ask search engines to remove links that feature personal information if the information is inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant, or excessive, and not of public  interest. The right is not an absolute one and needs to be weighed up against freedom of expression and media rights in every single case

The "Right to be forgotten" is just an example that shows a divergence in the protection of personal data between the US and the EU. Or, like the European Parliament stated in its comparative study between U.S.- and EU- data protection legislation in 2015 "while some legal concepts are similar to a certain extent, most of the EU data protection guarantees simply do not exist in US law".

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Duales Ausbildungssystem als Lösung gegen den Fachkräftemangel

Das deutsche Ausbildungssystem mit der Verknüpfung von Praxis und Theorie hat für Unternehmen viele Vorteile. Unternehmen können für ihren eigenen Bedarf ausbilden und verfügen am Ende über gut qualifizierte Fachkräfte, die sich im Unternehmen bereits bestens auskennen und nicht erst lange eingearbeitet werden müssen.

Die duale Ausbildung ist in dieser Form neu in den USA und fasst gerade erst Fuß. Das 'Dual Apprenticeship' wird jedoch nach Zahlen des US Departement of Labor immer beliebter. Während sich 2013 lediglich 375.425 junge Menschen in einer solchen Ausbildung bafanden, waren es 2015 schon 447.929.

Gut 75% der deutschen Firmen die bereits in den Staaten ansässig sind wollen im Jahr 2016 expandieren. Davon berichten aber 69% der Firmen, dass sie Schwierigkeiten dabei hätten, qualifizierte Arbeitnehmer zu finden. Es bestehe ein generelles Missverhältnis zwischen Angebot und Nachfrage von qualifizierten Arbeitnehmern und Firmen versuchen sich gegenseitig die qualifizierten Arbeitnehmer abzuwerben, was viel Geld kostet. Dieses Problem kann nur durch gute Trainings- und Ausbildungsprogramme behoben werden.

Angelehnt an das deutsche duale Ausbildungssystem bietet die German American Chamber of Commerce (GACC) verschiedene Programme an, in denen die jeweiligen Firmen die berufliche Ausbildung ganz nach ihren betrieblichen Bedürfnissen übernehmen und lokale Community Colleges das theoretische Hintergrundwissen liefern. Das GACC entwickelt Lehrpläne und arbeitet mit verschiedenen Colleges zusammen. Das Programm ist für Firmen aller Größen konzipiert und soll für ausreichend Fachkräfte sorgen.

Die umfassende berufliche Ausbildung eines jungen Arbeinehmers ist eine Investition, die sich auf lange Sicht auf jeden Fall lohnt und vor allem mit dem dualen Ausbildungssystem können sich Unternehmen erfolgreich Fachkräfte sichern.