In Germany, all important legal issues and matters are governed by comprehensive legislation in
the form of statutes, codes and regulations. The most important legislation in the area of business
the Civil Code (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch, abbreviated as BGB), which contains
general rules on the formation, performance and enforcement of contracts and on
the basic types of contractual agreements for legal transactions between private
the Commercial Code (Handelsgesetzbuch, abbreviated as HGB), which
contains special rules concerning transactions among businesses and commercial
the Private Limited Companies Act (GmbH-Gesetz) and the Public Limited
Companies Act (Aktiengesetz), covering the two most common corporate
structures in Germany – the ‘GmbH’ and the ‘Aktiengesellschaft’; and
the Act on Unfair Competition (Gesetz gegen den unlauteren Wettbewerb,
abbreviated as UWG), which prohibits misleading advertising and unfair
Germany has specialized courts for administrative law, labor law, social law, finance or tax law.
The Federal Patent Court hears cases on patents, trademarks and utility rights which are related
to decisions by the German Patent and Trademarks Office. Both the German Patent Office
(Deutsches Patentamt) and the European Patent Office are headquartered in Munich.