Research Fields

Empirical Legal Research (ELR)

Empirical legal research investigates, nationally and internationally, issues relating to all fields of intellectual and industrial property rights, namely …

  • Trademark Law (e.g. acquired distinctiveness, secondary meaning – i.e. the distinctiveness of signs such as words, logos, colours (one of our specialist fields of expertise), shapes or any other sign – well-known [before: famous] trademarks, confusion, trademark reputation or the understanding of geographical indications of origin). Such evidence is mostly required in registration procedures at national trademark offices or at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) when registration is opposed on the grounds of lack of distinctiveness or of a general need to preserve availability for an alleged generic or descriptive term, or, conversely, in order to support a request for cancellation.
  • Law of Unfair Competition (deception and confusion with competing products or manufacturers, “distinctive character”, “unnecessary imitation“). The surveys reveal associations and understanding of, e.g., product get-ups, advertising, packaging get-up or commercials. Such questions arise not only during but also prior to litigation; at times they are already considered at the product development or advertising concept stage in order to avoid any risk of litigation.
  • Antitrust Law (abuse of a dominant market position, definition of relevant markets, determination of customary contract practice or of what is regarded and accepted as a substitute product).

Such questions may be surveyed in any market, including everyday consumer goods, car advertisements, financial services, telecommunications, or in the field of health, society and more.

Furthermore, Legal Research comprises copyright law (ascertaining the extent of the actual use of IT devices such as PCs, laptops, tablets, multifunctional devices, mobile phones, memory sticks or other storage media to make copies that are subject to copyright law).

Research into Legal Facts (RLF)

The term Research into Legal Facts may include anything that is legally relevant and that can be investigated empirically, either by surveys or by other means of inquiry such as document analysis etc.

RLF encompasses – besides general basic research – research prior to the introduction or amendment of laws (e.g. to calculate / extrapolate the presumable costs involved) as well as studies to evaluate laws or guidelines, etc.

Advertising pillar with colour marks registered in Germany in the context of an art project by Rozbeh Asmani in Cologne, 2017 / 2018