Packaging law responsibility for traders own brands
By judgement of 13. September 2015 (file number: 7 C 11.14) the German Federal Administrative Court made a quite significant decision on responsibility under Packaging Law on labelling own brands.
When packaging filled with goods is placed on the market under the traders own brand, it is not the filler but the trader who is obliged to participate in a system to ensure general return of the packaging (dual system) and to document this by a declaration of completeness to be deposited with the Chamber of Industry and Commerce. Only by this interpretation can the implementation and transparency of Packaging Law obligations be ensured.
In the administrative law dispute, the plaintiff, a wholesaler for bakery and confectionary requisites under its own brand, contested an order of the defendant. In the order, the plaintiff was required to make a declaration of completeness for the calendar year 2010 and to deposit the declaration in the case of certain thresholds being exceeded with the local Chamber of Industry and Commerce. The defendant claimed that for traders own brands it was not the filler but the trader which, as the first to place the goods on the market, is subject to the obligation to participate in the system and to deposit the declaration. This applies in any event insofar as the trader is exclusively stated as filler/manufacturer on the packaging and owner of the trade mark. The Administrative Court dismissed the claim against that position. The Higher Administrative Court amended the judgement of the Administrative Court and set aside the order.
Ultimately, the decision of the Federal Administrative Court is to be welcomed since it represents a practice-relevant interpretation and provides market players with future legal certainty as to the extent of the obligation. All the more so since the decision ultimately confirms the existing implementation opinion according to the directions and communications of the Bund/Länder-Arbeitsgemeinschaft Abfall (LAGA).
Any questions? Please contact: Martin Ahlhaus oder Dr. Simon Menz
Practice Group: Litigation, Arbitration & ADR