Country fiches: Germany

In Germany, general provisions of criminal procedure apply to the investigation and prosecution of intellectual property crimes. These crimes fall under the general rules of jurisdiction.

Verified in October 2022

National legislation

National legislation on intellectual property crimes

Copyright violations

Sections 106 - 108b of the Act on Copyright and Related Rights

Counterfeiting of trademark

Section 143 of the Act on the Protection of Trade Marks and other Signs
Act on the Protection of Trade Marks and other Signs: 
MarkenG - nichtamtliches Inhaltsverzeichnis (gesetze-im-internet.de)

Patent violations

Industrial design violations

Section 51 of the Act on the Legal Protection of Designs

Violations of geographical indications of origin

Section 144 of the Act on the Protection of Trade Marks and other Signs
Act on the Protection of Trade Marks and other Signs: 
§ 144 MarkenG - Einzelnorm (gesetze-im-internet.de)

Violations of plant variety rights

Section 39 of the Plant Variety Protection Act

Trade Secrets violations

Sections 203, 204 and 353b of the Criminal Code
Section 23 of the Act on the Protection of Trade Secrets

National contacts

National contacts

Law Enforcement Agencies

At the federal level, IP crime investigations fall under the competence of the Customs Office, which is supported by the Federal Police.

At the state level, IP crime investigations are carried out by the State Police Agencies (Landespolizeien).

There are no units specialised in IP crime investigations.

Customs Office - Central Information Unit

+49 351 44834 530

Postfach 10 07 61, 01077 Dresden

Customs online - Homepage (zoll.de) 

State Police Agencies (Landespolizeien)

Contact details based on each state: access here


The prosecution of IP crimes falls under the competence of the Public Prosecutor’s Offices.

There is no unit specialised in prosecuting IP crimes.

Public Prosecutor’s Offices

List of Public Prosecutor’s Offices and their contact details: access here 


There are no courts specialised in IP crime. This type of crime falls under the general court system.

Jurisdiction is exercised by the federal courts and the courts of the 16 federal states. State level courts are organised in a three-tier system:

  • Local Courts;
  • Regional Courts; and
  • Higher Regional Court.

Decisions of Regional Courts (on juvenile cases) and Higher Regional Courts can be revised by the Federal Court of Justice.

German Courts

List of German courts and their contact details: access here

NRW-Justiz: Startseite

Judicial libraries

Judicial libraries


Public and free database. No registration is required.

Der Bundesgerichtshof - Entscheidungen

Selected judgments (since January 2000) from:

  • Federal Court of Justice (3rd instance)


Public database. Partly subject to a fee. No registration is required.

Justizportal des Bundes und der Länder: Rechtsprechung

Access to selected judgments from:

  • all German states (through dedicated pages).

Other available resources:

  • access to federal and state law (through dedicated pages)


Public and free database. No registration is required.

Bundesverfassungsgericht - Suche nach Entscheidungen

Major judgments from:

  • Federal Constitutional Court, since 1998

Other available resources:

  • catalogue of types of proceedings by the Constitutional Court
  • explanation on the path to decision
  • annual overviews of important proceedings
  • press releases