Electronic Commerce Law - 2021/22

Quick facts:

  • Online Course on Electronic Commerce Law (EU, German and U.S. law)

  • Course Materials are available at www.prof-determann.info

  • Please register by email to ldetermann@bakernet.com and frances.say@bakermckenzie.com before October 16, 2021. Registration deadline is November 1, 2021.

  • Live session will be on Friday, December 3, 2021, hopefully “live,” in-person at the Freie Universität Berlin (probably from 11.00 – 14.00; exact time to be determined), or, if not possible, per Zoom conference (in that case probably at 17.00)

  • You have to complete five multiple choice quizzes and two essays in the course of the semester.

It is not about having an electronic business or a traditional business.

It is all about having an electronic business or no business at all.

Under the heading "Electronic Commerce" and more recently "Mobile Commerce", companies pursue a vast number of commercial activities. In doing so, businesses face legal problems in nearly all traditional areas of the law (such as contracts, torts, constitutional law, administrative law, intellectual property, etc.). Additionally, companies have to consider a number of issues that are specific to doing business via the Internet and mobile networks either because of technology specific aspects (e.g., signing a contract on a small cell phone screen electronically) or because traditional legal issues have a far greater practical dimension in cyberspace (e.g., trademarks).

We will approach these eBusiness specific issues in our lecture on Electronic Commerce Law by following a traditional business in its endeavor to transit from an existing offline business to a modern online business. For best illustration, we will take one of the most basic and low-technology industries that you can imagine: A fishing outfitter who provides services (accommodation and guides) and simple goods (fishing equipment) for sale and rent. We will accompany the transition into Electronic and Mobile Commerce step by step in order to address the most relevant legal issues in a systematic and structured manner. In doing so, we will of course look at cases and materials that concern other, more technologically sophisticated industries such as the computer and entertainment industry. Due to their core know-how and financial strength, these industries naturally occupied the electronic and mobile commerce field much earlier. Yet, we will find that most of the legal challenges faced by high tech businesses are also relevant for any other business that goes online – even if it is as traditional and technologically simple as a fishing outfitter.

Objective of the lecture will be to familiarize students with the typical legal problems in electronic and mobile commerce around the world. Topics covered will include intellectual property, contracts, competition, commercial, and data privacy law. Method of teaching will be the introduction of hypotheticals and brand new cases and their review under applicable laws as well as economic and policy considerations.

Apart from our "live" session, the course can be conducted completely online, that is, you will work through the materials, contact me with any questions you may have by writing to ldetermann@bakernet.com and frances.say@bakermckenzie.com.

The course materials are available at www.prof-determann.info and consist of problems, applicable statutes and precedents. You can download the zip file. Please review the materials and answer the questions.

Please send in your essay assignments by December 31, 2021: You should prepare written answers to the questions in Step II Chapter 4, Problem no. 8 (Trademark infringement liability) and Step IV Chapter 8, Problem no. 5 (Private Copies).

Also, you will have to send in answers to five Quizzes that will be sent to you during the course of the semester.