<<
>>

Country fiches: Austria

Intellectual Property infringements can have civil and criminal law consequences under the Austrian system. However, IP offences are subject to private prosecution, which may be initiated only by the person or business damaged by the infringement – not the public prosecutor.

Verified in October 2023

National legislation

National legislation on intellectual property crimes

In Austria, the possibility of criminal sanctions is foreseen in all legal acts regulating IP rights. However, the legislator has established a unique procedure - the proceedings can be initiated and conducted only by the IP right holder. The public prosecutor cannot initiate the criminal proceedings.

Copyright violations

Article 91 of Federal Act on Copyright in Literary and Artistic Works and on Related Rights (Copyright Act)

Note: This offence is subject to private prosecution, which may be initiated only by the person or business damaged by the infringement - not the public prosecutor.

Counterfeiting of trademark

Note: This offence is subject to private prosecution, which may be initiated only by the person or business damaged by the infringement - not the public prosecutor.

Patent violations

Note: This offence is subject to private prosecution, which may be initiated only by the person or business damaged by the infringement - not the public prosecutor.

Industrial design violations

Note: This offence is subject to private prosecution, which may be initiated only by the person or business damaged by the infringement - not the public prosecutor.

Violations of geographical indications of origin

Note: This offence is subject to private prosecution, which may be initiated only by the person or business damaged by the infringement - not the public prosecutor.

Violations of plant variety rights

Section 25 of the Plant Variety Protection Act 2001

Note: This offence is subject to private prosecution, which may be initiated only by the person or business damaged by the infringement - not the public prosecutor.

Trade Secrets violations

Note: Secs. 122 and 123 of Penal Code as well as Secs. 11 and 12 of the Act against Unfair Competition are private prosecution matters. 
Sec. 124 of Penal Code is an official action, in which the offender will be prosecuted solely upon initiative of the Public Prosecutor

National contacts

National contacts

Intellectual Property infringements can have civil and criminal law consequences under the Austrian system. However, the IP offences are subject to private prosecution, which may be initiated only by the person or business damaged by the infringement - not the public prosecutor.

Law Enforcement Agencies

In private prosecution matters, the preliminary investigation is not open by the private prosecutor. The private prosecutor may only apply for provisional pecuniary orders.

Nonetheless, the Austrian Customs Administration can conduct seizure operations.

Austrian Customs Administration

+43 50 233 740

Das Bundesministerium für Finanzen (bmf.gv.at)

Prosecution

Austria applies the principle of ‘prosecution after claim of the victim’, stipulating that infringement of IP rights is a private prosecution crime, since this crime concerns the rights of the IP right owner, and it is more suitable for the victim to decide whether to claim his rights or not.

Criminal proceedings are conducted according to the general principles of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The private prosecutor is generally entitled to the same rights as the public prosecutor (with exceptions regarding certain sanctions).

The public prosecutor cannot initiate criminal proceedings, except for criminal offences described in Section 124 of the Criminal Code (Scouting of a business or trade secret for the benefit of foreign countries). In this case, the Public Prosecutor’s Office is responsible for the prosecution of this criminal offence.

Public Prosecutor's Office

List of contact details based on the region: access here

Recht einfach erklärt

Judiciary

According to the Trademark Protection Act, the Copyright Act and the Patent Act, Vienna's Regional Court for criminal matters has exclusive jurisdiction for criminal law remedies based on IP infringements.

Vienna's Regional Court

+43 1 40127 0

Landesgerichtsstr. 11, 1080 Vienna

Landesgericht für Strafsachen Wien (justiz.gv.at)

Judicial libraries

Judicial libraries

Rechtsinformationssystem des Bundes (RIS) - Federal Legal Information System

This is a public and free database. Registration is not required.

RIS - Judikatur 

Selected judgments from:

  • First, second and third instance courts
  • Constitutional Court
  • Administrative Court

Other available resources:

  • federal and state legislation,
  • law gazettes.

Rechtsinformationssystem des Bundes (RIS) - Federal Legal Information System

This is a private database, which does not require registration. The access to judgements is free of charge; however a paid subscription is required for other services.

RDB Rechtsdatenbank

Selected judgments from:

  • First, second and third instance courts
  • Constitutional Court
  • Administrative Court
  • Federal Fiscal Court.

Other available resources:

  • legal texts, journals and literature on legal subjects.
<<
>>