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imprint

What information is to be kept in the legal notice?

The following information must be provided in the imprint in accordance with Section 5 (1) TMG:

  • the name and address of the branch (in the case of legal entities also the legal form, the authorized representatives and, if information is provided about the company's capital, the share capital and, if not all contributions to be made in cash have been paid in, the total amount of the outstanding deposits)
  • Information that enables quick electronic contact and direct communication, including the email address. The service provider is therefore obliged to provide users of the service with another fast, direct and efficient communication channel in addition to their electronic mail address (that means the e-mail address) before concluding a contract with them (see ECJ NJW 2008, 3553 25, 40). In addition to the e-mail address, another communication option must be specified. The word “immediately” requires that no third party is involved between the parties involved (ECJ NJW 2008, 3553 Rn. 29, 31).
  • If available, the commercial register, association register, partnership register or cooperative register and the corresponding register number
  • if the service is offered or provided in the context of an activity that requires official approval, information on the responsible supervisory authority
  • in cases in which a sales tax identification number according to § 27a of the sales tax law or an economic identification number according to § 139c of the tax code is available, the indication of this number

Frequent warning reason: The lack of certain mandatory information in the imprint

Check the information on your imprint to ensure that your data is correct and up-to-date and make any necessary adjustments. This applies to both the presentation of your imprint in the client portal and the presentation of your imprint in your online presence.

In this context, please note the following particularities in particular:

1) You must be in your legal notice neither your tax number nor your tax identification number specify.

2) You must mind your VAT identification number if you have been assigned one by the tax office.

As a retailer, you have to consider the following points in this regard:

a. A VAT ID no. you only have to indicate this in the imprint if one has been allocated to you by the Federal Central Tax Office (BZSt) at your request. In other words: not every entrepreneur has a VAT ID number. If he does not have one, he does not have to state it, since he cannot do it at all.

b. Do not confuse the VAT ID number. not with the tax number or the tax identification number. The names sound similar, but the dates are completely different. In Germany a USt-IdNr. always the format of the introductory letter sequence "DE" followed by nine digits, e.g. DE123456789. Tax number and tax identification number usually have more digits. By specifying the tax number and / or tax identification number in the imprint, the obligation to provide a VAT ID no. not be met.

c. Also think about further imprints outside of your "main presence" (such as on Facebook), the VAT ID number must be there. naturally also be mentioned. Please also remember this in the event of a (later) issue of the VAT ID number. to add these in your imprints.

3) If you use images or other copyrighted content from third parties for your online presence, you may have to provide certain information about the author, the rights holder and / or the source of the respective content in your imprint. Whether and to what extent you have to provide the relevant information depends solely on the relevant license terms of the respective providerthat you must accept when registering for such a service.

4) The use of something called Disclaimer (especially regarding the exclusion of liability for external links, copyright or trademark law) as can often be found on the Internet, contrary to popular opinion, is neither necessary nor helpful.

We therefore categorically advise against the use of such disclaimers.

5) Information on privacy do not belong in the imprint but in the data protection declaration, which should be kept on a separate page.

Can the service provider's first name be abbreviated?

The LG Düsseldorf (judgment of May 6th, 2008; Az .: 37 O 47/08) initially determined that the abbreviation of the first name of the managing director is not relevant to influence competition sufficiently and therefore does not constitute a violation of competition law. The superior OLG Düsseldorf (judgment of November 4, 2008; 20 U 125/08) deviated from the opinion of the regional court and confirmed that according to § 5 para. 1 no is of particular importance for any legal disputes.

In contrast, the LG Erfurt (judgment of May 6th, 2008; Az .: 2 HK O 44/08) dismissed a lawsuit against the abbreviation of the first names of the shareholders of a GbR, because the initial letter of the first name and the following surname were given the other market participants are able to identify the provider at the address mentioned.

Tip: You are on the legally safe side if you include your full first name in the imprint. In this respect, the decision of the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court as the appellate authority is more important.

Tip: It would also not be permissible for an eBay seller to only state his eBay pseudonym in his imprint. According to Section 5, Paragraph 1, No. 1 of the German Telemedia Act, the full name including the address must be kept available (attention: according to the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court - judgment of November 4th, 2008 - Az If only the pseudonym is given, this runs counter to the targeting of the imprint obligation, to provide the consumer with a reliable way of making direct contact.

Are the authorized representatives of a company to be named?

No, in principle the names of the authorized representatives of a corporation are not to be given in the imprint.

The knowledge of the authorized representative can in individual cases prevent a consumer from entering into a business transaction with the company if he knows this person by name and with a negative background, for example as unreliable. However, this is at best random and remains unaffected by the objective of the imprint obligation to provide the consumer with sufficient contact options (KG Berlin, decision of 21.09.2012 - Az. 5 W 204/12).

This view was confirmed by the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court (judgment of June 18, 2013 - Az. I-20 U 145/12). This stated that the imprint obligation is based on Article 5, Paragraph 1 of the E-Commerce Directive. Letters a and d of Directive 2000/31 / EC on electronic commerce only require the name and address of the service provider to be stated. In the case of legal entities under commercial law, the name is the company's name. This also identifies the respective company. The specification of an authorized representative does not belong to the specification of the company, especially since the company designated as a company should not be individualized by the specification of an authorized representative.

There is no need to state who is authorized to represent a company in the imprint.

Does the legal form of a company have to be mentioned?

Yes! The BGH has finally decided on this in a leading ruling (decision of April 18, 2013, I ZR 180/12). Although the decision referred to the information requirements of Section 5a (3) No. 2 UWG, it must also apply to the imprint to the same extent. The purpose of the regulation of §5a Abs. 3 Nr. 2 UWG is it - as with the imprint obligation according to §5 Abs. 1 TMG - to fully explain to the consumer who his contractual partner is. This already results from a directive-compliant interpretation of Art. 7 Paragraph 4 Letter b of Directive 2005/29 / EC on unfair business practices, which expressly mentions the "trade name" in addition to the "address and identity of the trader".

At the same time, however, consumer protection considerations also speak in favor of this requirement. On the one hand, the legal form addition is necessary so that the consumer can contact the offering company without difficulties and further efforts to establish identity.On the other hand, the addition enables the consumer to assess the reputation of the entrepreneur with regard to the quality and reliability of the products offered by him To assess goods or services, but also their economic potential, creditworthiness and liability.

Attention: the obligation to state the legal form only applies to legal persons! One-man entrepreneurs, on the other hand, are not allowed to use any legal form additions, as they do not legally have a corresponding legal personality. Sole proprietorships must therefore always give their first and last name with their address.

Can a sole proprietor call himself a managing director?

Basically not. The presence of a managing director is only possible where a legal person acts as a separate legal entity, which is made up of different organs.

That the designation of a one-man entrepreneur as managing director of an online shop with a fictitious name can be anti-competitive, decided the OLG Munich with judgment v. November 14, 2013 Munich Higher Regional Court (Az. 6 U 1888/13).

Operators of a one-man company could never be managing directors in the legal sense, so expelling the entrepreneur under the designation "managing director" is likely to mislead traffic about the identity of the company within the meaning of Section 5a (3) No. 2 UWG. The term "manager" associates a significant proportion of consumers with a limited liability company, so that they assume that the company is a legal person. The company then recognizes the consumer in the imaginary shop name and, in the absence of the addition of the (actually nonexistent) corporate form, cannot guess who his contractual partner is. In this case, the managing director would at most be authorized to represent the company.

The indication of the shop name in connection with the managing director identification is able to deceive consumers in a relevant way about the legal form and legal organization of the other contracting party and has an effect in particular on the assessment of the risk of insolvency and the extent of liability.

One-man entrepreneurs who operate online shops with fictitious names should under no circumstances identify themselves as managing directors in their imprint.

An imprint of the following form

"Power sample shop"
Managing director: Max Mustermann
Sample path 1
12345 model town
(Information on phone and email) "

is misleading and impermissible.

The business name may only be permitted if the name of the sole proprietorship is given immediately after the imaginary name and a reference is made to his managerial status in a further field as follows:

"Power sample shop Max Mustermann
Managing director: Max Mustermann
Sample path 1
12345 model town
(Information on phone and email) "

According to the Munich Higher Regional Court, the consumer would understand the name addition in the company drawing as an indication of the owner of the company and assume that this is a sole proprietorship. The overall impression of the imprint would then be different, so that the traffic should understand the indication "managing director" in this case to mean that this is the person who actually runs the business of this company. (In this context, the IT law firm urgently advises you to avoid the term "managing director" entirely).

Is the legal form "registered association" to be written out in full?

According to the Essen Regional Court, this is not necessary (see judgment of April 26, 2012, Az. 4 O 256/11):

"On the other hand, it was not and is not necessary for the legal form" registered association "to be written out in full, the note" eV "is sufficient. This requirement does not arise from the wording of Section 5 (1) sentence 1 TMG anyway. That this abbreviation is not known to every foreign visitor to the website, although the Chamber considers it to be practically as well known as the non-abbreviated legal form itself because of its frequent use. However, the website is only written in German. It can therefore be assumed with certainty that Visitors to the website, since they must be able to speak German in order to understand the contents of the website, are also sufficiently familiar with the abbreviation "eV" The sense and purpose of the regulation in Section 5 (1) No. 1 TMG is unambiguous and simple Identifiability of the service provider. This is sufficiently guaranteed when using the short form. "

Is it permissible to give the PO box number alone?

The Traunstein Regional Court (LG Traunstein, ruling of January 21, 2016 - Ref .: 1 HK O 168/16) has made it clear that it is not sufficient to simply state a PO Box number in the imprint, since a PO Box is not an address that can be summoned act.

Is it mandatory to provide a telephone number in the imprint?

The linchpin of every legally compliant commercial website is a proper imprint. In order to be complete, this must show all the necessary contact information for the provider. In today's question of the day, we will clarify whether a telephone number is also mandatory.

The IT law firm provides a comprehensive FAQ on the imprint obligation here.

The mandatory contents of the imprint result from § 5 Abs. 1 TMG.

According to No. 2, the imprint must contain information that enables quick electronic contact and direct communication with the provider, including the address of the electronic mail.

While the provision of the email address is mandatory according to the regulation, this looks apparently different for the telephone number. According to the law, in addition to the email address, only one additional information is required to enable "direct communication".

The ECJ finally positioned itself on the question of whether only one telephone number guarantees the required “direct” communication with its judgment of October 16, 2009 (Ref .: C-298/07).

In the opinion of the highest European court, a telephone number does not have to be given if another comparable and equally efficient contact channel is available.

The Court of Justice sees as an equally efficient contact channel electronic request form if there are regular inquiries about this from the user within 30 to 60 minutes can be answered.

However, it is problematic for presence operators that if they do not provide a telephone number, doubts about the efficiency of an alternative communication channel are at their expense.

The lack of a telephone number in the imprint is also more likely to raise competition watchdogs, to whom the efficiency of an alternative contact channel would have to be proven in the event of a dispute. However, it would be difficult or even impossible to provide such evidence that is legally valid.

Even if the indication of a telephone number in the imprint is not mandatory and alternative, equally efficient contact options can replace them, the IT law firm recommends: Enter a telephone number in the imprint.

This prevents the risk that an alternatively provided communication channel is assessed as inadequate and effectively prevents potential disputes with competitors and competition associations.

If you (understandably) do not want to make your private phone number visible to the whole world in the imprint, you should get an additional mobile phone number just for the imprint.

The indication of a mobile phone number in the imprint is sufficient in any case.

Can the phone number be a cell phone number?

Yes, according to the BGH (judgment of February 25, 2016, Az. I ZR 238/14):

Neither from the wording nor from the history of Art. 5 Paragraph 1 Letter c of Directive 2000/31 / EC and Section 5 Paragraph 1 No. 2 TMG does not, however, result that the routes to be made available by the service provider Contacting the user must be free of charge (see also Ernst, jurisPR-ITR 2/2009 note 2 under D .; Heckmann in Heckmann, jurisPK-Internetrecht, 4th edition, chapter 4.2 marginal number 259; Micklitz / Schirmbacher in Spindler / Schuster, Law of Electronic Media, 3rd edition, § 5 TMG Rn. 58; Müller-Broich, TMG, § 5 Rn. 9). Both provisions do not in principle rule out a cost burden for the user. When making contact with the use of a means of communication, users therefore have to bear the connection fees that are usually incurred. These are the costs incurred for sending an e-mail, a fax or a call from the landline or mobile network.A service provider is therefore not obliged to set up a toll-free telephone number.

Can the telephone number be a chargeable value-added service number?

In the context of the mandatory information in the online imprint of a business website, no value-added service number may be used as a telephone number, as according to the Federal Court of Justice (judgment of February 25, 2016, Az .: I ZR 238/14, it is inadmissible to charge additional fees, which exceed the usual connection fees, which arise from the use of the means of communication anyway. The decision of the BGH is extremely relevant for website operators, so all (business-like) website operators, online retailers, etc. are now called upon to check their imprint data to determine whether Under certain circumstances, impermissible value-added service numbers are stored here, these should be replaced immediately by "normal" landline or mobile phone numbers if you want to avoid legal disadvantages!

The use of special numbers for customer service hotlines can also be warned

The following note is aimed at online retailers who (also) conclude contracts with consumers and have a telephone number under which a consumer can contact the entrepreneur by telephone with questions or explanations about a contract that has already been concluded:

When specifying such a telephone number, only use a normal telephone number in the landline or mobile network or a telephone number free of charge for the caller (area code: 0800). You are not allowed to enter any special numbers for such purposes (such as those under the prefixes 0180x, 0137x, 0700 or even 0900). Otherwise there is a risk of a warning.

The background to this is a recent decision of the European Court of Justice (ruling of March 2, 2017, Az .: C-568/15), with which the European Court of Justice the use of a phone number under the area code 01805 as a violation of the provision of Section 312a (5) BGB classified.

On the other hand, this does not affect phone numbers that are not used to process questions and explanations about a concluded contract, e.g. pure order hotlines to clarify questions in advance of a contract. Pure fax numbers are also not recorded.

In addition, the IT law firm recommends using only a standard phone number from the landline or mobile network or a free phone number for the phone number given in the imprint. Further details on this topic can be found here.

Is it permissible that only one answering machine can be reached on the telephone number?

A court decision on this subject has not yet been issued. The legal literature is divided. It is sometimes assumed that the specification of a telephone number that only leads to an answering machine is not sufficient. According to another opinion, answering machines or a callback after entering data online can also be a permissible way of making direct contact, provided that a callback is actually made promptly.

Is an email address mandatory or is an electronic contact form sufficient?

In Section 5, Paragraph 1, No. 2 of the German Telemedia Act (TMG), an address for electronic mail is explicitly included in the catalog of mandatory information. This already means that regardless of any other options for establishing contact, it is essential to provide an email address.

This was confirmed by the KG Berlin with judgment of Ruling v. 7.5.2013 (Ref. 5 U 32/12). In this respect, on the one hand, the e-mail address cannot be waived by a telephone or fax number due to the lack of equivalence, since the spoken word has no documentation value, not everyone has a fax machine and sending faxes is more costly and time-consuming than sending e-mail.

In particular, however, the obligation to provide the email address must not be circumvented by simply providing an electronic contact form.

In the case of an online contact form, the consumer is forced into a specific form when presenting his / her request and may even be limited to a permissible number of characters. In addition, he usually does not receive any feedback as to whether his message has been sent, and he cannot document this either.

Based on the guidance of a high level of consumer protection pursued with Section 5, Paragraph 1 of the German Telemedia Act (TMG), an email address must always be given, with which the consumer can enter into correspondence with the provider in writing and without any formal requirement.

Are electronic inquiry masks a "direct and efficient communication channel"?

After a preliminary question from the BGH (judgment of April 26, 2007; Az .: I ZR 190/04) to the ECJ, the latter confirmed that an electronic Internet inquiry mask as an additional communication channel has the required immediacy and efficiency. This also applies if the answer to the user's question is sent by e-mail within 30 to 60 minutes. However, this possibility is insufficient in situations in which a user of the service does not have access to the electronic network after making electronic contact with the service provider and asks the latter to access another, non-electronic communication channel.

Accordingly, a query mask should only be used as an additional option that makes it easier for the user to contact the service provider and to stand out from other websites. In no case should it replace the mandatory e-mail address.

Is it permissible to enter an e-mail address with an autoreply function?

The fact that the consumer receives an automatic reply e-mail after contacting the e-mail address given in the imprint is fundamentally harmless, provided that the following is guaranteed:

  • the acknowledgment of the e-mail,
  • the possibility of a direct answer
  • and the chance for a direct exchange with an employee

The practice of using pre-formulated content in the context of automatically generated reply emails is therefore permissible as long as the reply email only confirms receipt of the consumer email and does not block individual processing and subsequent personal contact on the part of the provider.

In contrast, the LG Berlin (judgment of August 28, 2014 - Az: 52 O 153/13) declared the practice of the online giant Google to indicate by means of an automatic reply email that the specified email address could not actually be used to contact us as inadmissible and the consumer would have to use the mail forms provided instead.

Google used the following formulation in its autoreply emails:

“This is an automatically generated email. Answers to this e-mail are not possible for technical reasons…. Please note that due to the large number of inquiries, e-mails received at this e-mail address [email protected] cannot be read or acknowledged. You can contact Google Inc using the e-mail forms provided for this purpose in Google Help (http://www.google.de/support). This ensures that your request is directly addressed to the relevant employee in a topic-related and targeted manner. "

In this respect, the measure provided by Google is equivalent to a reference to an online contact form that does not replace the provision of an e-mail address that is actually capable of correspondence. Here the LG Berlin referred to the decision of the KG Berlin shown in the previous question (judgment of 7 May 2013 - Az. 5 U 32/12)

As a result of the same opinion, the OLG Koblenz (judgment of July 1, 2015, Az. 9 U 1339/14):

Section 5 (1) no. 2 TMG is intended to enable individual direct communication by electronic means via the specified email address. The regulation does not require that messages or inquiries from the provider be answered in every case. There are also no inspection obligations. It is crucial that the e-mail address enables contact to be made with the provider in this way and that the provider does not restrict his availability, for example by using rules for handling the e-mail to rule out incoming e-mails from being acknowledged or the customer's communication options are restricted to certain questions in terms of content, or the customer is only informed of other communication options. Such an impermissible restriction of communication is also when the system is set up in such a way that customer inquiries are only responded to with a standard letter pre-formulated for all cases of inquiries. Because such a reaction is not an individual response, but ultimately only a general rejection of the customer's communication request. On the other hand, Section 5 (1) No. 2 TMG leaves it to the provider how he communicates with his customers without the restrictions set out above. Just as he can leave inquiries addressed to him by post unanswered in individual cases without acting anti-competitive, he does not need to answer every email addressed to him (see on the whole of the ECJ, judgment of October 16, 2008 - C-298/07 -, juris; KG, judgment of May 7, 2013 - 5 U 32/12 -, juris; LG Berlin, judgment of August 28, 2014 - 52 O 135/13).

Is it necessary to link the email address?

No. According to § 5 I No. 2 TMG, service providers for business-related teleservices have to keep information available that enables quick electronic contact and direct communication with them, including the address of the electronic mail. With this obligation, the German legislator went beyond the requirement contained in the E-Commerce Directive, which only required the specification of the e-mail address. However, the general opinion is that it is not necessary to provide an authorized link to the provider's e-mail address, since typing the address may be annoying, but ultimately it is reasonable - especially since the copy & paste function can always be used.

Is it mandatory to specify a fax number?

Yes, if a fax number is available, this should also be given.

What applies to the VAT identification number?

The legal basis for the sales tax identification number (USt-IdNr.) Can be found for the Federal Republic of Germany in Section 27a (1) of the Sales Tax Act (UStG):

"Section 27a of the sales tax identification number

(1) The Federal Central Tax Office shall issue entrepreneurs within the meaning of Section 2 with a sales tax identification number upon request. The Federal Central Tax Office also gives legal persons who are not entrepreneurs or who do not acquire the items for their company a sales tax identification number if they need this for intra-community acquisitions. In the case of a tax group, a separate sales tax identification number is issued for each legal entity upon request. The application for a sales tax identification number according to sentences 1 to 3 must be made in writing. The application must include the name, address and tax number under which the applicant is registered for VAT purposes. "

Functionally, the sales tax identification number (USt-IdNr.) Is used to clearly identify entrepreneurs in the sense of sales tax. It acts as a kind of "chassis number" in the intra-community movement of goods and services for sales tax purposes within the European Union.

Obligation to provide the sales tax identification number (USt-IdNr.) In the imprint

According to Section 5, Paragraph 1, No. 6 of the Telemedia Act (TMG), service providers must also indicate the sales tax identification number (USt-IdNr.) In the context of the provider identification of the telemedia they operate for business, if one has been assigned to them.

If this obligation is violated, this clearly represents a warning against competition law. It is all the more annoying to receive an expensive warning because of such a failure. The fulfillment of the obligation § 5 Abs. 1 Nr. 6 TMG is basically trivial, nevertheless some points cause confusion and errors again and again.

Allocation of the sales tax identification number (USt-IdNr.) Takes place only on request
The sales tax identification number (USt-IdNr.) Is only issued free of charge by the Federal Central Tax Office (BZSt) upon request by the entrepreneur.

It is therefore required by every entrepreneur who takes part in the movement of goods and services between the member states within the territory of the European Union.

In other words: Anyone who has not submitted such an application as an entrepreneur does not have a sales tax identification number (USt-IdNr.) In our experience, in addition to the similar sounding designations of the "tax number", this is the main reason for the time and again any irritations that occur when specifying the VAT identification number (VAT ID no.).

In addition, there is no obligation to submit such an application if there is no cross-border trade. Traders who only buy and sell their goods in Germany usually have no reason to even apply for a sales tax identification number (USt-IdNr.).

What is specifically warned in connection with the sales tax identification number (USt-IdNr.)?

The following two constellations are usually warned:

1. The retailer has been assigned a sales tax identification number (USt-IdNr.), But he does not provide any information in his imprint.

2. The retailer has been assigned a sales tax identification number (USt-IdNr.), But he does not specify this in his imprint, but instead gives a different "number" (we usually confuse the sales tax identification number (USt-IdNr.) With the tax number or tax identification number)

As a rule, the warning person does not even know whether the opponent has been assigned a sales tax identification number (USt-IdNr.). In practice, the deficits usually only exist with certain imprints: If a retailer, for example, specifies the sales tax identification number (USt-IdNr.) In his online shop, but forgets this within the scope of his business Facebook presence, the warning person has an easy time of it Allocation then fixed.

How do I recognize a sales tax identification number (USt-IdNr.)?

In Germany, a sales tax identification number (USt-IdNr.) Has the format of the introductory letter sequence "DE" followed by nine digits, e.g. DE123456789

Tax numbers and tax identification numbers, on the other hand, usually do not contain any letters and also have more digits (10-13 digits depending on the federal state). Often these also contain slashes (e.g. 081/151/2345).

Further information on the structure of the sales tax identification number (USt-IdNr.) EU-wide is available here: http://www.bzst.de/DE/Steuern_International/USt_Identifikationnummer/Merkblaetter/Aufbau_USt_IdNr.html

A plausibility check for a sales tax identification number (USt-IdNr.) Can also be carried out under the following link: http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/vies/

I don't have a sales tax identification number (USt-IdNr.) - what then?

If you have not been assigned a sales tax identification number (USt-IdNr.), You do not have to enter one in the imprint. What you don't have, you can't specify, see above.

In our experience, this fact is not even known to many entrepreneurs, so that they are usually desperately looking for ways out and therefore the tax number or tax identification number is mentioned in the imprint. Not a good idea.

Does the tax number have to be shown?

The tax number is often confused with the sales tax identification number (USt-IdNr.). This explains why the tax number can be found again and again in imprints, sometimes on its own, sometimes together with the sales tax identification number (USt-IdNr.), Sometimes even as a sales tax identification number (USt-IdNr.).

There is no legal obligation to indicate the tax number in the imprint. If this is given there instead of an allocated sales tax identification number (USt-IdNr.), There is an acute risk of warning.

The tax number should also be omitted in addition to the value added tax identification number (USt-IdNr.) Or if no sales tax identification number (USt-IdNr.) Has been assigned. The tax number can quickly lead to unauthorized persons being able to obtain sensitive information from tax offices about external companies. If you do not want to research your creditworthiness, you should therefore under no circumstances publish your tax number.

Does the tax identification number have to be shown?

In terms of designation, the tax identification number comes even closer to the sales tax identification number (USt-IdNr.) Than the tax number, but has nothing to do with it.

The classic tax number will be replaced by the tax identification number in the future. So far, however, both tax numbers exist in parallel. The tax identification number was introduced in 2008.

The tax identification number does not have to be given in the imprint and should not be given for the reasons mentioned in the tax number.

Does the business identification number have to be shown?

Anyone who has an economic identification number in accordance with Section 139c of the Tax Code must also state this in the imprint, which in turn regulates Section 5 (1) No. 6 TMG.

What applies to journalistic and editorial offers?

Affected are:

  • Blog operators who provide journalistic and editorial content.
  • Dealers who have integrated such a blog in their shops.
  • Dealers who offer their customers the option of reviews or expressions of opinion (e.g. through a rating and / or comment function).

According to Section 18 (2) of the MStV, providers of telemedia who have journalistic-editorial offers ready must always name a person responsible for the content in their imprint, who is to be made liable for legal violations in connection with their journalistic activity.

But: Purely commercially oriented online shops and dealerships are excluded from this.

However, we recommend all online retailers that

  • offer their customers the option of reviews or expressions of opinion (e.g. through a rating and / or comment function).
  • have integrated a blog or an e-magazine with overarching topics into your website

to name the "journalist responsible" in the imprint.

The following pattern can be used for this:

"Responsible according to § 18 Abs. 2 MStV:
John Doe
Musterstrasse 1
00000 model town "

Note: Only whoever is responsible may be used as the person responsible

- has his permanent residence in Germany
- has not lost the ability to hold public office as a result of a judge's verdict
- has full legal capacity and
- can be prosecuted without restriction.

Are you unsure whether you have to name the "journalist in charge" in your imprint? If in doubt, just do it. In any case, this ensures the necessary legal certainty, because according to the conception of the MStV only the lack of a notice can be warned, but not the correct designation in spite of the fact that there is actually no obligation.

For background information on the whole, see here.

How should the legal notice refer to the EU platform for dispute resolution?

Online retailers have had to use the Link to the EU platform for online dispute resolution. So put the following text together clickable Link to the OS platform directly below your imprint information (without the quotation marks):

"Platform of the EU Commission for online dispute resolution: www.ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr"

According to the latest case law, the part of the information "www.ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr" must be listed as clickable hyperlink be designed. A mere referral, including the URL of the OS platform, is not sufficient to fulfill the information obligation!

How do you implement the clickable link in the imprint on the different platforms (Amazon, DaWanda, eBay etc.)?

We have this for

There is currently no need for action on the www.dawanda.de platform, as the platform operator provides a clickable link to the EU arbitration platform in the imprint of the DaWanda retailer.

Unfortunately, it is not possible for us to offer a solution for every conceivable sales platform, and certainly not for all conceivable browser constellations, especially with regard to the mobile presentation of the offers. Instead, the platform operators would be asked to finally provide their sellers with a simple and, above all, reliable technical solution for fulfilling the information obligation, especially since this "construction site" has been in existence for almost a year. Probably only a corresponding number of inquiries from the seller can help, so that you should definitely contact the respective platform operator if you have any problems.

Foreign language imprint

In the case of a foreign language imprint, please also provide the following text in the relevant national language directly below your imprint information:

Danish: EU-kommissionens OTB-platform til onlinetvistbilæggelse: http: //: ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr

English: Platform of the EU Commission regarding online dispute resolution: http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr

French: Plateforme de la Commission européenne relative au règlement extrajudiciaire des litiges: http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr

Italian: Piattaforma della Commissione Europea per la risoluzione delle controversie: http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr

Dutch: Platform van de EU-Commissie voor de onlinebeslechting van geschillen: http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr

Polish: Platforma Komisji UE do rozstrzygania sporów z e-sklepami: http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr

Swedish: EU commission platform for tvistlösning online: http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr

Slovenian: Platforma Evropske komisije za spletno reševanje sporov: http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr

Spanish: Plataforma de la Comisión Europea para la resolución de litigios en línea: http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr

Czech: Platforma Komise EU pro řešení sporů on-line: http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr

When is it mandatory to provide the WEEE registration number in the imprint?

The amended ElektroG has been in force since October 24, 2015. With the new ElektroG there is also an important innovation for manufacturers with regard to their information obligations:

The registration number (WEEE registration number) assigned to the manufacturer by the EAR Foundation must be given by the manufacturer when the product is "offered" since October 24, 2015, see Section 6 (3) ElektroG.

If the manufacturer sells his devices over the Internet, it is mandatory to be informed of the WEEE number online. Offering is “the presentation or making publicly available electrical or electronic equipment within the scope of this law in the context of a commercial activity aimed at concluding a purchase contract; this also includes the request to submit an offer ”.

According to the previous legal situation, manufacturers only had to use the WEEE registration number in written business transactions (e.g. on invoices or delivery notes). This is clearly no longer sufficient. If you are a manufacturer within the meaning of the ElektroG, please ensure that your WEEE number is mentioned in the imprint of your online presence, otherwise there is a risk of warning.

Manufacturers of electrical and electronic devices as well as mere distributors who are subject to the take-back obligation for electrical and electronic devices (and thus also the information obligation) can find samples in the client portal in order to be able to meet the new information obligations.

You will find more information on this topic here.

Is it sufficient to just show the organic control number in the imprint?

Basically: Dealers who sell organic food online, are subject to mandatory certification and must accordingly indicate the number of the testing organic inspection body. In the opinion of the IT law firm, however, it is not sufficient to include the control number alone in the imprint.