13th German Week in St. Petersburg

German Week 2016 was the 13th edition of this event, which this year took place from 13th to 21st April in St. Petersburg under the motto “Responsibility - Dialogue - Openness”. It was a resounding success. This year once again, the IRZ supported the German Consulate General in St. Petersburg and the Russian Law Academy of the Ministry of Justice for the Russian Federation as they prepared and developed the programme for a forum on “Problems and perspectives for development in the field of intellectual property”, which was on the agenda for 19th April 2016.

Almost 10,000 visitors to German Week could choose from around 90 events covering culture, education, economy, law and science, which were aimed at promoting a vibrant and modern picture of Germany. This series of events is traditionally organised by the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in partnership with the German-Russian Chamber of Commerce, Filiale Nordwest, and the Goethe Institute and it is the highlight of German cultural life in St. Petersburg. The federal state of Brandenburg was the partner state for this year’s German Week. More than 50 other organisations and companies were also involved in German Week, with their own contributions to the programme or as sponsors.

The event was opened by the Consul General for the Federal Republic of Germany in St. Petersburg, Dr. Heike Peitsch. On the Russian side, Artur O. Parfentschikow, Head of the Federal Service for the Judiciary, Danil W. Rybin, Director of the Russian Law Academy of the Ministry of Justice for the Russian Federation and Pjotr W. Gerassimenko, President of the association of notaries in St. Petersburg, welcomed the participants.

Around 50 people from the legal profession, universities and the media took part in this event, which was held in the Consulate General.

On the German side, Dr. Oliver Schön, a judge at the Regional Court of Munich, and Laura Philipp, a consultant at the German Patent and Trade Mark Office in Munich, contributed to the meeting with lectures on comparative law. German and Russian law professionals took part in lively discussions on current topics in the field of intellectual property, including the system for the legal enforcement of industrial property rights, the inheritance and execution of copyright, the collective perception of rights and the role and function of copyright collectives. The areas of discussion were of enormous practical relevance to the Russian experts present and were immediately met with great interest. Lively discussions and intense exchanges of expertise between the Russian and German sides meant that - even in these times of political unrest - the dialogue and successful cooperation, which as far as legal collaboration is concerned has existed for years, will be continued.

In future years, the IRZ will continue to play an active role in organising the now traditional German Week in St. Petersburg.

Conference on the application of the law to legal entities in Moscow

On 17 June 2015 the IRZ and the Law Academy organized the conference "Special features of the application of the law and acts with regard to legal entities taking account of the present economic conditions in Germany and Russia" which was held at the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation. The event was organized in the context of the "Promotion of legal cooperation in the Russian Federation" project funded by the Federal Foreign Ministry.

The Russian speakers gave accounts of the latest developments in legislation within the field of company law, in particular the new legal forms of legal entities. They also addressed problems arising from the application of the new legislation and the legal status of selected legal forms of legal entities, such as the general partnership. Another issue that was discussed were the options for strengthening the development of a social economy by means of amendments in the area of company law.

The German contributors discussed the situation in Germany and in particular the differences between German and Russian company law, individual legal forms and maintenance of and public trust in a commercial register.

They also dealt with safeguarding loans in case of bilateral contracts, in particular the question of what means are available to foreign entrepreneurs (e.g. reservation of title) to protect themselves when concluding supply contracts with Russian companies.

V. Legal Forum in Saint Petersburg

The IRZ took part in the V. Legal Forum in Saint Petersburg from 27 to 30 May 2015, which was attended by 61 delegations with more than 3500 delegates from 84 countries. Twenty delegations were led by Ministers of Justice or their deputies. The organisations involved in the V. Legal Forum included, among others:

  • UN
  • The Hague Conference on International Private Law
  • European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice
  • European Court of Human Rights
  • Court of the Eurasian Economic Community

The forum programme opened up new opportunities for expert discussions. More than fifty round tables were organised, dealing in particular with topical legal issues.

The experts recruited by the IRZ took an active part in the round tables on the law of obligations, property law and trademark law.

Dr Oliver Schön, Judge at the Higher Regional Court of Bremen, was involved in the topic "Trademarks – shield or sword? - Topical issues in legal practice". This trademark law event dealt with issues in relation to legal disputes regarding the transposition, cancellation and infringement of trademark laws, with a particular focus on the abuse of trademark law. Against the background of international experience, this round table was intended to improve legal practice, in particular with regard to the case law in cases concerning the acquisition and protection of trademark rights.

The round table on "Restricted property rights: The more advantageous side of the Civil Code for businesses" was attended by Günther Jannsen, former Judge at the Higher Regional Court of Oldenburg, and Wolfram Marx, Head of Division at the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection. This event on property law was moderated by Veniamin Yakovlev, Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation in legal matters. It covered the system of restricted rights in rem and leaseholds as well as the relationship between the rights in rem project and the new legislation and developing land in a foreign country. The experts dealt in particular with the issue of rights of use and the development of foreign property and outlined the legal consequences of such a situation in Germany.

The event dealing with the "Reform of liability in Russia: Agenda for 2015" was attended by Eugenia Kurzynsky-Singer, Senior Research Fellow at Max-Planck Institute, and Professor Lorenz Kähler, University of Bremen. This round table dealt in particular with the new legislation with regard to independent guarantees. In this context Professor Kähler provided an outline of guarantees and statutory warranty rights in Germany. He also dealt in depth with the issue of pre-contractual liability. Eugenia Kurzynsky-Singer outlined the principles of the legal concept of culpa in contrahendo.