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Germany: Bill to exclude GDPR violations under UWG introduced to Bundestag

On April 23, 2024, the Government of Bavaria announced, in the report from the German Parliament (Bundestag) meeting held on the same date, the introduction of a bill to exclude the prosecution of violations of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) under the Unfair Competition Act (UWG).

What is the purpose of the bill?

The report highlighted that the aim of the bill is to generally exclude data protection violations from warnings and prosecution under the UWG to create legal certainty, especially for small and medium-sized companies.

The report stated, among other things, that in Germany, companies frequently receive warnings under the UWG for GDPR-related violations. Since competition law prosecution is not provided for in the GDPR, it presents a legal controversy and harbors considerable potential for abuse and economic risks, which were observed in some of the Google Fonts warnings recently issued.

You can read the report, only available in German, here.

Update: June 25, 2024

Bundestag issues statement on bill

On June 19, 2024, the German Parliament (Bundestag) issued its opinion on the bill. According to the Bundestag, the danger of purely economically motivated warnings from competitors in the event of violations of data protection law has already been addressed with the fundamental reform of the warning system in 2020 through the Act to Strengthen Fair Competition of November 26, 2020. By limiting the reimbursement of expenses in §13(4)(2) of the UWG, an appropriate compromise was found that effectively limits the financial incentive for issuing warnings for data protection violations.

The Bundestag also noted that a decision in this regard is awaited from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU); therefore, the Bundestag sees no need for the proposed change in the law. 

You can read the Bundestag's statement and the bill, only available in German, here.