The EU is planning concrete steps to modernise product liability law and thus further strengthen consumer protection. The outdated EU Product Liability Directive, on which the German Product Liability Act [Produkthaftungsgesetz, ProdHaftG] is based, aims in particular to take into account advanced digitisation, developments in artificial intelligence and the increasingly widespread circular economy.
Just before the entry into force of the German Act on Corporate Due Diligence Obligations for the Prevention of Human Rights Violations in Supply Chains [Gesetz über Lieferkettensorg-faltspflichten, LkSG] and following the recently published handout on risk analysis, the German Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control [Bundesamt für Wirtschaft und Ausfuhr-kontrolle, BAFA] has now published a comprehensive questionnaire. Affected companies can meet their reporting obligations under Sec. 10 (2) LkSG with such questionnaire.
Every year, assets totalling billions of euros are transferred to the next generation in Germany. This mostly happens by inheriting.
Employment Law24.10.2022 Newsletter
At the latest since the corona pandemic, home offices and mobile working have become an integral part of everyday working life. “Workations" are also becoming increasingly popular among employees - all the more so as the temperatures in Germany drop and energy prices rapidly rise. Now in particular, many employees are therefore considering spending the winter months in warmer climes in order to work from there. This understandable wish of employees presents companies with legal problems, however. We summarise the most important points for employers below.
Employment Law14.10.2022 Newsletter
The massive cost increases in the context of the energy crisis, especially for raw materials and electricity, weigh heavily on companies. The entire cost structure is being reviewed. Many companies are also focusing on reducing personnel costs and, in particular, wage costs.
Oppenhoff has advised Schoofs Immobilien GmbH Frankfurt on a portfolio development with the investment fund manager Greenman and its fund Greenman OPEN. The portfolio comprises eleven specialist stores or mixed-use properties and has a volume of 215 million euros. It is to be realised by 2025.
Oppenhoff has set up a collaboration with the permanent and interim recruitment specialist Robert Walters.
Online platforms are subject to a number of regulatory requirements. New regulations not only come from Brussels, but also from Berlin. In addition to general regulations for online platforms, there are numerous special regulations, e.g. for streaming platforms or social media. Read here which regulations are important for your website.
Employment Law07.10.2022 Newsletter
On both 14 and 29 September 2022, the Federal Cabinet passed a multitude of bills to combat the energy crisis and thus set them on their way through parliament. In addition, the Ordinance Amending the Ordinance on Access to Short-Time Work Benefit [Kurzarbeitergeldzugangsverordnung - KugZuV] and the Ordinance Making Short-Time Work Benefit Available to Temporary Agency Workers [Kurzarbeitergeldöffnungsverordnung - KugÖV] entered into force on 30 September 2022. The following article by Jörn Kuhn and Annabelle Marceau provides an overview of current legislative proposals.
On October 6th, the Council of the European Union adopted the 8th EU sanctions package against Russia. One day earlier, the permanent representatives of the member states had already agreed, among other things, on the legal requirements for a price cap on Russian oil imports proposed by the G7 countries. The sanctions package contains new far-reaching measures that will affect a multitude of economic sectors.
Surprisingly, the German Federal Labour Court [Bundesarbeitsgericht, BAG] has ruled by decision dated 13 September 2022 (docket No. 1 ABR 22/21) that companies must systematically record the working hours of their employees. This could be derived from the Union-conform interpretation of the German Occupational Health and Safety Act [Arbeitsschutzgesetz, ArbSchG], with which the BAG now implements the "CCOO" decision of the ECJ (judgement of 14 May 2019, docket No.: C-55/18), which already caused a furore in 2019, into German law for the first time by way of judicial further development of the law. Thus, employers are currently already required to maintain a time recording system that can objectively and reliably determine the daily and weekly working hours performed by their employees.
Digital Business06.10.2022 Newsletter
Once again, this year's release of the video game FIFA has generated a great deal of attention and criticism. The black market trade in in-game currency, i.e. the game's own currency that can technically only be earned in the actual game, in contrast, has barely been discussed in the media to date. This currency can be bought on dubious trading platforms for real money. Publishers in particular suffer as a result.
Oppenhoff has advised the shareholders of Smart Paws GmbH on its sale to Trupanion Inc.
Employment Law29.09.2022 Newsletter
In the third quarter of 2022, employers faced several landmark labour court decisions as well as legislation that will have a tangible impact on HR operations. Besides the reform of the German Act on Proof of Working Conditions in an Employment Relationship [Nachweisgesetz, NachwG], which came into force on 01 August 2022, HR departments are now also facing enormous chal-lenges through the ruling of the Federal Labour Court [Bundesarbeitsgericht, BAG] of 13 September 2022 on the recording of working hours and the ECJ ruling of 22 September 2022 on the statute of limitations for (residual) holiday claims. Other recently published BAG rulings are also forcing companies to adjust their processes in the field of compliance and when con-cluding shop agreements. We are pleased to present all of these recent developments in case law and legislation in this issue of our Focus Labour Law.
Oppenhoff comprehensively advised the two founding shareholders on the sale of CORESIS Group, which specializes in real estate investment, asset and property management.
Digital Business27.09.2022 Newsletter
For game manufacturers, changing the in-game payment or reward system in the game after the fact is often lucrative. This is not without risk.
The progressive development of new technologies is also leading to new fields of application and innovations in the healthcare industry. A practice that has been established for decades in seafaring is now also finding its way into doctors’ surgeries: the remote treatment of patients without any physical real contact. In sparsely populated regions in particular, existing gaps in medical care can be closed through telemedicine, and even in urban areas the accessibility of specialist care can also be improved.
Employment Law22.09.2022 Newsletter
It is not that long ago that the Advocate General's Opinions of March and May 2022 on the expiry of untaken paid annual holiday caused a stir. With today's rulings, the ECJ is now further strengthening employee rights in accordance with the Advocate General's position while at the same time significantly restricting employer rights.
Oppenhoff advised tesa SE on the sale of tesa Labtec GmbH, a specialty pharmaceutical contract development and manufacturing organization for transdermal therapeutic systems and oral films, to Adhex Pharma.
The Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action, placed Rosneft Deutschland and RN Refining & Marketing GmbH under the trusteeship of the Federal Network Agency . This is the first time that the BMWK has used a new legal basis anchored in the German Energy Security Act to avert risks in connection with the operation of critical infrastructures in the energy sector.
Employment Law13.09.2022 Newsletter
The works council has no right of initiative regarding the introduction of time recording systems in the company. As expected, the Federal Labour Court [Bundesarbeitsgericht, BAG] confirmed its previous case law today (decision of 13 September 2022 - 1 ABR 22/21). At the same time, the BAG's decision has caused a sensation in the discussion on the recording of working hours: according to the Erfurt judges, if the German Occupational Health and Safety Act [Arbeitsschutzgesetz, ArbSchG] is interpreted in conformity with Union law, employers are currently already obliged to record employees' working hours.
Energy and Infrastructure08.09.2022 Publication
Although emergency plans, risk plans and safety laws have also existed for a long time in the energy sector, they have not been relevant to date because there was no acute risk situation. However, a crisis of unprecedented proportions is becoming increasingly likely - and is therefore causing a great deal of uncertainty in the market. More than ever, in-house counsel are being called upon to find solutions with their partners in law firms. Carmen Schneider, energy law ex-pert and partner at the law firm of Oppenhoff, therefore urgently recommends taking appropriate preventive measures.
Antitrust Law and Merger Control07.09.2022 Newsletter
According to a press release dated September 6, 2022, the German Federal Cartel Office has no objections against a production cooperation among German sugar producers to mitigate a possible gas shortage. The decision is driven by the current geopolitical situation and has cross-industry significance.
Energy and Infrastructure07.09.2022 Publication
A proposal drafted by the EU Commission for a CO2 limit compensation scheme will result in rising costs for manufacturing companies and is meeting with criticism. Holger Hofmann and Carsten Bormann find out what is being discussed.
The Walter Oppenhoff Foundation is once again awarding two scholarships for LL.M. studies in the USA this year, thus supporting the extraordinary legal achievements of the two scholarship holders. The Foundation was established in 1996 on the occasion of the 90th birthday of Dr. Walter Oppenhoff, namesake of the commercial law firm Oppenhoff, and supports the international education of German lawyers.