Guest Lecture by Sebastian Boll – The Legal Angel

The Legal Angle

To explain the corporate outlook in Germany the Indo-German Training Centre Bangalore invited Sebastian Boll, Hamburg-based attorney, on the afternoon of 7th April 2016 to give the students an insight into the legal framework of business in Germany. The aim was to provide a detailed overview about differences, advantages and disadvantages of different legal entities in India and Germany and strike some comparisons.

In his lecture Mr. Boll spoke about two key aspects: Business with and in Germany and, moreover, the label “Made in Germany”. In the first part of the lecture, Mr. Boll talked about regulations to conduct business in Germany. With regard to establishing a legal entity in Germany, he presented the different steps required to register an organization and various types of organizations. Furthermore, he gave the students an insight into the legal frameworks concerning businesses in Germany. Thereby, he explained the various forms of legal business entities in Germany such as GmbH (Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung), AG (Aktiengesellschaft) and KG (Kommanditgesellschaft). Comparing German and Indian procedures, he, thus, highlighted differences one has to be aware of if one wants to operate in the respective country. Especially, regarding security contribution, sick leave and vacation regulations huge differences in the two countries can be found.

The second part of Mr. Boll’s lecture dealt with the label “Made in Germany”. The label itself was, most astonishingly, not invented by the Germans themselves, but by the British. To curb the rising sales of German imports, the British government introduced the Merchandise Marks Act in 1887 which required all imports to be marked with their country of origin. However, this marking backfired as it made the British population to realise the outstanding quality German products provided. After this short introduction into the historical background, he highlighted Trademark laws and Customs laws that govern business transactions in Germany and by extension in Europe. To close his lecture Mr. Boll gave an outlook of possible developments in the close future, for example, the existence of a more prominent label “Made in Europe”. Most of the examples given were easily relatable as most of the discussion surrounded the IGTC partner companies.

The lecture gave the students very interesting insights into the German legal system and their impact on the Indo-German business climate. All in all, the lecture provided the students with a thorough knowledge of the legal landscape of Germany.