Missing indication of manufacturer: Federal Court of Justice holds vendors accountable
New products not falling under special regulations (e.g. food, medical products) must comply with the requirements of the Product Safety Act (Produktsicherheitsgesetz, ProdSG) to render their dissemination in the market admissible. These requirements comprise normally a duty to ensure that the name of the manufacturer or importer are affixed to the product or at least its packaging.
A mere vendor who distributes goods without such an indication may be liable under competition law, as the Federal Court of Justice recently found (judgment of 12/01/2017 – I ZR 258/15 – Motivkontaktlinsen). The Court of Appeals of Bamberg, as a lower instance, had ruled otherwise, reasoning that the indication of manufacturer as such has no bearing on the safety of the product. The Federal Court of Justice, however, observed that e.g. in case of a recall due to safety risks such an indication may indeed become relevant.
As a consequence, vendors have an obligation to check their merchandise at least for clear violations of the Product Safety Act.