English

Geniatech is successful in important landmark proceedings before the Higher Regional Court of Cologne: McHardy backpedals

Press Release No. 03/2018

Who uses Linux has to comply with the license terms. But this must not constitute a business model for copyright trolls. To this purpose, the Linux ecosystem supported Geniatech after coming into compliance.

 

Cologne March 07, 2018 Today, Geniatech Europe GmbH prevailed in a landmark lawsuit before the Higher Regional Court of Cologne. At the beginning of the proceedings had been a warning letter by the computer programmer Patrick McHardy who had claimed that he owned the copyrights in the well-known Linux operating system. He accused Geniatech of using Linux components in the firmware of their devices.

Patrick McHardy requested Geniatech to declare that Geniatech would pay to him personally contractual fines if Linux were to be distributed in the future without implementing the underlying license agreement, the GNU General Public License, version 2.

After Geniatech had refused to provide a corresponding declaration subject to a contractual penalty Patrick McHardy initiated legal proceedings. Even before the first hearing, Geniatech had fixed its compliance shortcomings. In these proceedings the Linux ecosystem substantially supported Geniatech Europe GmbH. Harald Welte has published a report about the proceedings in his blog under http://laforge.gnumonks.org/blog/20180307-mchardy-gpl/.


The Outcome of the Proceedings

The Higher Regional Court of Cologne regarded the claims asserted by McHardy as unfounded and explained its legal position in detail. In order to avoid that grounds of a judgment be established the attorney-at-law for McHardy withdrew his request for the issue of an interim injunction.

Crucial for the Court’s decision was that the Court found that there had not been submitted sufficient evidence to show McHardy’s entitlement to initiate the proceedings in question. Pursuant to the presiding judge his entitlement to initiate the proceedings “would have had to be much more substantiated”. The Court rejected McHardy’s position that he was a co-author of Linux.  – Pursuant to the Court those who make contributions to Linux – such as McHardy – cannot become co-authors of the overall program. Pursuant to the Court at best, therefore, McHardy might have obtained limited author’s rights in his own contributions insofar as these are indeed own real contributions and not only editing activities. With respect to such author’s rights, it was however not evident which contributions McHardy made in detail and of which importance these contributions were, however only the individual contribution can be judged as regards its protectability.

By withdrawing the request for the issue of a preliminary injunction McHardy terminates the proceedings and bears the costs of the proceedings for both instances. Marcus von Welser and Till Jaeger, the attorneys acting on behalf of Geniatech, comment on the outcome: “It is an important victory for the Open Source idea that Linux must not be monetarized by a single individual. Now it is up to all of us to communicate this, to help others comply with the license terms. Free software needs fair users.”


Geniatech Europe GmbH was represented in the proceedings by Dr. Marcus von Welser, Attorney-at-Law, Vossius & Partner mbB Munich and Dr. Till Jaeger, Attorney at Law, JBB Berlin. Technical consultant was Armijn Hemel, MSc, Tjaldur Software Governance Solutions. All participants are available for further information at any time. Contact details below:

Dr. Marcus von Welser:
http://www.vossiusandpartner.com/de/mitarbeiter/dr-marcus-v-welser

Dr. Till Jaeger:
http://www.jbb.de/anwaelte/dr-till-jaeger

Armijn Hemel:
http://www.tjaldur.nl

Mike Decker:
mike.decker@geniatech.com

 

About GENIATECH

GENIATECH Europe GmbH (https://www.geniatech.eu) in Herzogenrath near Aachen is a subsidiary of Shenzhen GENIATECH Inc., Ltd. (http://www.geniatech.com). GENIATECH is the world’s leading ODM/OEM manufacturer of smart TV and video platforms for all areas of daily entertainment. GENIATECH supports customers and partners in 42 countries in the realization of their own ecosystems through consulting, development, design and production. GENIATECH provides industrial design solutions in hardware and software for all operating systems as well as manufacturing services certified according to international standards.

GENIATECH press contact:

GENIATECH Europe GmbH
Kaiserstrasse 100
D 52134 Herzogenrath
Phone: +49-2407-55290-80
E-Mail: ray@eu-geniatech.com

GENIATECH press contact:

GENIATECH Europe GmbH
Kaiserstrasse 100
D 52134 Herzogenrath
Phone: +49-2407-55290-80
E-Mail: ray@eu-geniatech.com

https://www.geniatech.eu/geniatech-erringt-in-einem-wichtigen-grundsatzverfahren-erfolg-vor-dem-olg-koeln-mchardy-macht-rueckzieher/ Geniatech is successful in important landmark proceedings before the Higher Regional Court of Cologne: McHardy backpedals