News 2013


Legal Pitfalls of the Gurlitt Case

The Gurlitt case is causing a stir worldwide - and not just among experts. It raises a number of legally complex questions, which Dr. Lucas Elmenhorst answers in an article for the Handelsblatt.


Regardless of how each individual assesses the Gurlitt case, it nevertheless stimulates discussion about the compatibility of morality and law. This always raises exciting and sometimes difficult legal questions. In an article for the Handelsblatt, Dr. Lucas Elmenhorst addresses the most important issues and provides an outlook on likely developments in the dispute over restitution issues.


dtb rechtsanwälte Achieves Groundbreaking Case Law Change

The German Federal Court (BGH) has abandoned its decades-long case law in copyright law and has thus agreed with the arguments put forward by dtb rechtsanwälte in the revision proceedings. Designers throughout Germany will benefit from this change. Bertold Schmidt-Thomé led the proceedings as the plaintiff's lawyer.


Self-employed designer Heike Wiechmann and her lawyer Bertold Schmidt-Thomé fought for the plaintiff's rights for five years and went through all instances. In the end, the BGH ruled in the appeal proceedings that Heike Wiechmann was entitled to a subsequent share of the revenue from the sale of her so-called "birthday train". The BGH's decision was essentially based on the reform of design law in 2004.


The 49-year-old toy designer Heike Wiechmann from Lübeck had designed the so-called "birthday train" for a large German toy company in 1998 and received a fee of DM 400. The colourful wooden train, on whose carriages candles and numbers can be attached, became a bestseller and sold at least 200,000 units in the following years.


16th Stuttgart Foundation Day - Workshop Invitation

If you want to set up a foundation, you not only need perseverance and financial resources, but also the necessary tools. At the 16th Stuttgart Foundation Day, foundation experts will exchange ideas with participants in lectures and workshops and give advice on how to set up a foundation successfully. Dr Pascal Decker is one of the speakers on the 22nd of November in Stuttgart.


Many foundation founders do not realise the particular benefits of a successful brand strategy. In his workshop "Brand management of foundations - practice and relevance", Dr Pascal Decker will therefore focus in particular on the development of brand development strategies. Using the DRF Stiftung Luftrettung gAG as a case study, participants will learn how they can successfully develop their own brand communication and utilise it for their foundation. In the second part of the workshop, the requirements and obstacles of brand protection will be discussed in detail. As part of the 16th Stuttgart Foundation Day, participants will be given the opportunity to talk to experts from the world of foundations and receive helpful tips for setting up a successful foundation.


The event will take place on the 22nd of November at the Haus der Katholischen Kirche in Stuttgart. We look forward to welcoming you!


BGH Judgment on Photographs of Celebrities

The question of the extent to which press photographs of celebrities and their children may be published is a recurring subject of legal disputes. In the current issue of NJW, Dr Pascal Decker and Dr Lucas Elmenhorst look at the latest German Federal Court (BGH) ruling in the "Ice Princess Alexandra" case.


The plaintiff is the daughter of Princess Caroline of Monaco. Without her prior consent, press representatives from FREIZEIT REVUE took photos of eleven-year-old Alexandra during a horse show, which were published in FREIZEIT REVUE under the headline "Princess Caroline - Her new boyfriend is already like a dad to Alexandra".


The BGH has now ruled that such photos may be used in the context of reporting on the sporting event even without prior consent. Neither the level of the press product nor the type and manner of reporting play a role here. In the current issue of NJW, Dr Pascal Decker and Dr Lucas Elmenhorst take a critical look at the ruling.



dtb Workshop - Contracts Without Borders

"Cross-border art and the limits of contract law" - on Tuesday, 5 November 2013, from 6 p.m. in our offices in the Pergamon Palais.


Cross-border contracts characterise the business of everyone involved in the art trade today. In co-operation with the Federal Association of German Galleries and Art Dealers (BVDG), dtb rechtsanwälte invites you to the workshop "Cross-border art and the limits of contract law".


The workshop will address selected questions that typically arise when art crosses national borders. Questions of choice of law and jurisdiction will be discussed as well as customs and tax law issues. The workshop is aimed in particular at internationally active galleries who would like to deepen their knowledge of contract law.


You are welcome to send us a question in advance that concerns you in this context. If you are interested, please contact Sabine Bärenklau, The workshop will begin on 27 November at 6 pm in our offices at Am Kupfergraben 4, 10117 Berlin. The speakers will be Laura Schopp and Anna Kathrin Distelkamp. Afterwards, we invite you to join us for a snack.


We look forward to seeing you there!


dtb Lecture - The Most Expensive Work of Art in the World

The painting "The Card Players" by Paul Cézanne recently achieved a record sale price of the equivalent of 190 million €. This makes it the most expensive painting in the world. The rising sales and auction prices for works of art are a trend that has been observed worldwide for years. Lawyer and art historian Dr Lucas Elmenhorst will discuss the background to this phenomenon in a lecture.


Since the financial crisis, sales and auction records for works of art seem to be tumbling. After the painting "The Card Players", the painting "The Apples" by Paul Cézanne also achieved the proud price of the equivalent of 32 million euros at this year's spring auction at Sotheby's in New York. However, these are not just isolated phenomena. The major German auction houses also reported the best season in their history back in 2011 - and the trend continues. But how can such record prices be achieved even though the effects of the financial crisis on the global economy are still being felt?


In his lecture, Dr Lucas Elmenhorst will examine the special workings of the art market and will shed light on the influence of the growing wealth of many collectors and the increasing desire for art as a capital investment.


The lecture will take place on Friday, 18 October at 1 pm in the "Kaisersaal" at Bellevuestrasse 1, in Berlin-Tiergarten. Please register at


Design and Copyright Law

The BGH has to deal with the complaint of a well-known children's book illustrator and freelance toy designer. This could result in a change in case law that would benefit freelance designers throughout Germany. Lawyer Bertold Schmidt-Thomé is overseeing the proceedings.


The decision of the BGH in the case of the so-called "Geburtstagszug" ("birthday train") has been announced for mid-November. The BGH will address the question of whether and to what extent design products may enjoy copyright protection. The plaintiff is a well-known children's book illustrator and independent toy designer. Her works are among the bestsellers of a major German toy manufacturer. However, the manufacturer refuses to give the plaintiff a share of the sales. The argument: in the absence of copyright protection, there is no legally enforceable claim to a share of sales.


To date, case law has applied a very strict standard for protectability. Should the BGH decide to change this case law, freelance designers throughout Germany would benefit.


WE CREATE BERLIN - Invitation to the Presentation

Together with other members of CREATE BERLIN, dtb rechtsanwälte will be giving a presentation on "Design and Brand" on 28 August 2013.


Exciting presentations for the Berlin design scene in a relaxed atmosphere - that is the aim of the Berlin creative network CREATE BERLIN. On 28 August 2013, 6 pm, another lecture evening will take place at the Automobil Forum Unter den Linden.


It will begin with a presentation by the BSR marketing department on the "Trenntstadt" design competition. This will be followed by a presentation by dtb rechtsanwälte on the multifaceted topic of "design and brand", highlighting the procedure and legal pitfalls involved in brand strategies. The third presentation will be given by the marketing manager of the creative agency dan pearlman, who will present the CREATE CHANGE project. The final presentation by trend research agency Güldenberg will offer interesting insights into the topic of "upcycling", i.e. the utilisation of discarded raw materials to create new products. Due to the limited number of places available, we kindly ask you to register at


We look forward to seeing you there!


Acquittal for Jonathan Meese

The Local Court of Kassel has acquitted the Berlin artist Jonathan Meese. Meese's acted in the service of art, argued the judge.

Further News