In the main proceedings on 28 July 2022, the Higher Regional Court of Munich ruled that water suppliers may refer to their tap water as “healthy” when providing information to their customers. The judges thus remained consistent with their ruling in the summary proceedings.
The Higher Regional Court of Munich once again found that referring to tap water as “healthy” when providing information to customers does not constitute a violation of competition law. This is a landmark decision for the entire water industry. In the summary proceedings in 2020, the court had already dismissed the action filed by the association Verband Deutscher Mineralbrunnen e.V. (VDM). Wasserzweckverband Rottenburger Gruppe, a special purpose association for water supply, may continue to refer to the health-promoting aspects of its tap water on its website. The court held that this is not a “commercial practice” within the meaning of sec. 2 Act Against Unfair Competition (UWG), but is covered by the statutory duty to provide information under the Drinking Water Ordinance (TrinkwV). Last year, the Regional Court of Hanover had already refused to prohibit a water supplier from referring to its water as “healthy” in information for its customers.
“Water suppliers have a certain leeway in complying with the statutory duty to provide information. This leeway includes that companies may call their tap water “healthy”. The Higher Regional Court of Munich rightly clarified this matter and I am very pleased that it has taken such a firm stance in the present case,” says BBH partner Stefan Wollschläger, who represented the special purpose association for water supply in both the summary and main proceedings.
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Prof. Dr. Ines Zenke
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