The area of e-commerce or online trading includes the trading of goods and services as well as other legal transactions and business processes that are processed electronically, usually over the Internet. When e-commerce is conducted using smart phones or tablets, it is sometimes also referred to as m-commerce.
E-commerce usually takes place through online shops or known trade platforms and marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay. Almost anything is traded in this process, from traditional goods such as clothing, foodstuffs, and electronic devices, personalized goods such as printed T-shirts and customized furniture, digital goods such as music or film downloads, to all kinds of services.
From a legal standpoint, e-commerce touches on a multitude of legal issues and areas, as almost every type of business activity is performed and the particulars of an electronic business transaction must be considered. Depending on whether it involves an offer to a consumer (B2C) or company (B2B), different benchmarks need to be created. Furthermore, the Internet knows no boundaries and legal topics must therefore always be considered in a European and international context. Anyone wishing to successfully do business online should keep a good overview and concentrate on their core business.
Consumer protection, in particular, has a significant impact on online trading. Compliance with consumer protection regulations in distance selling and a multitude of information and labeling requirements that are virtually impossible to grasp are making life difficult for online retailers. In addition, the relevant regulations are regularly being amended, much to the chagrin of retailers. For example, the regulations regarding the legal cancellation right have already been amended several times in recent years.
In addition to the various information and instruction requirements for distance selling, questions, e.g. regarding the general terms and conditions of business, other contractual issues, and legal aspects in the implementation of (new) business models, play a role. Furthermore, regulations regarding data protection, competition, and copyright or trademark must also be taken into consideration.
Our expertise in e-commerce
We advise and represent companies of all types, from startups to established online companies, in this industry. Our experienced and specialized lawyers advise our clients in all issues regarding e-commerce and represent them in legal disputes and official warnings, including before German and European courts and arbitration courts.