A cultural magazine published by a sovereign body may not be subsidized without a sufficient basis for authorization (Berlin Regional Court judgment, February 23, 2023, 52 O 64/22).
In the issue 11 /June, 7, 2023 of “GRUR-Prax – Gewerblicher Rechtsschutz und Urheberrecht / Praxis Immaterialgüter- und Wettbewerbsrecht” BOEHMERT & BOEHMERT partner and attorney-at-law Dr. Rudolf Böckenholt explains a hotly debated decision of the Berlin Regional Court of February 23, 2023 (52 O 64/22, GRUR-RS 2023, 4645) on the question of whether the cultural magazine “Sinn und Form”, which is published and distributed by the Berlin Academy of the Arts, may be subsidized in order to cover its costs.
In the absence of a corresponding basis for authorization, the Berlin Regional Court answered this question in the negative and prohibited the Akademie der Künste from continuing to pay the cultural magazine cover contributions. The lawsuit was brought by the competitor “Lettre International,” which felt that these payments distorted competition. Without sufficient legal authority to engage in press activities at all and in a specific area, a sovereign body violates the requirement that the press be independent of the state and thus unfairly interferes with otherwise free competition.