Course descriptions

Courses held in English

Introduction into Legal Informatics and Data Protection Law

Legal Informatics consists of the preconditions, applications and repercussions of the information technology on the legal system. The preconditions concern the theories underlying the technical developments as well as argumentation basis in the legal field. This part will focus on the notion of “information”. The applications of information technology on law are data basis, expert systems, tools for decision making and automated procedures. The repercussions are mainly known as “information law”, which concerns not only new disciplines such as data protection and telecommunications but influences nearly all parts of legal science. History of developments in the main areas in Europe and Germany will be included.

European Regulation and Comparative Legal Aspects in the Information Society, including Competition Law 

Hardly any field of law is more influenced by European regulations than IT-law. This course seeks to elucidate some of the most important of these basic principles. Therefore, it deals with the EU-directives on electronic signature, long distance sales, distance selling of financial services and on e-commerce. We will proceed from the European regulations, analyse their genesis and content and the problems of transposing them into national law. The latter will have an emphasis on Germany; we will look at the regulations of other EU-Member States.

Copyright Law

Copyright Law, through modern developments in IT and media, has gained in importance, but at the same time is facing new challenges. The course will cover the main concepts and doctrines of copyright law based on international and European sources and from a comparative perspective (Germany, UK, France). The first part will offer an overview of the basic concepts, the protected subject matter and the extent of copyright protection. Following that, specific issues of copyright law with regard to new media services will be discussed in parts two and three, in particular protection of software and databases, the legal framework of copyright protection in the Internet and the specific rules on technical protection measures (‘Digital Rights Management‘).

Fundamental Aspects of Information Science, Security and Computing 

The complexity of information science methods is steadily increasing. Distributed environments in various disciplines are a main factor. On the other side information systems will have to evolve towards ease of use and implementation, concealing the inherent mechanisms. This course gives an overview of the fundamentals of security of information systems in various computing environments showing mechanisms behind the scenes. Important basics of computer science and security aspects are briefly discussed: hardware and computation systems, software and operating systems as well as various tools, programming languages, and programming paradigms.

Media Law 

Media is not a homogeneous discipline of law, but a cross section of constitutional, public, private and to some extent criminal law. Over the last two decades it has been significantly influenced by the primary and secondary law of the European Union and the European Convention of Human Rights. Media law has become an area of high international impact due to the transmission of content via satellite and Internet over the state borders. The main principles and current disputes in Media Law will be discussed as well as a selection of the most relevant issues in professional law practice.

Seminar Contemporary Problems in IT/IP Law

The seminar is an exercise in student-led learning. Each student will make a presentation based on the short seminar paper of 3,500 words they have written from the list of topics made available from Professor Dr. Forgo and Professor Metzger. In order to provide a fruitful discussion based on a student’s presentation, every student will be expected to have read 13 seminar papers from fellow students and have made short comments, suggestions etc of approx 100 words on ILIAS. The presentations should therefore be based on the seminar paper and also the comments and questions on ILIAS.

Alternative license models: Open Source Software and Creative Commons

Software industries are substantially influenced by the use of Free Software and Open Source Software. Programs like Linux, Android, Apache, Typo3, Joomla!, Firefox, MySQL and others are used in many software environments and Open Source Software is often combined with proprietary software in single products. The license terms of the respective Open Source Licenses are crucial for the understanding of this alternative license model and differ significantly from typical EULAs. We will analyze the different types of “free” licenses and will evaluate the rights and license conditions of important licenses (e.g. GPL, LGPL, Apache License) as well as the relationship between patent licensing and copyright licensing. Furthermore, we will learn about the license model of Creative Commons and will discuss specific questions of copyright licensing for works other than software. 

Intellectual Property and Private International Law on the Internet

Due to the principle of territoriality, the effects of intellectual property rights are limited to the territory of the legislating state. Therefore, in cross-border IP litigations, the courts first have to decide whether they can assert international adjudicatory jurisdiction to hear the case and how far the power of the court extends to render such decision. The second question in cross-border litigations is what is the applicable law. These questions have been answered differently in Europeans countries, the U.S. and Japan. In this course we will examine these jurisdictional issues taking into account a comparative perspective of the general rules of private international law with a main focus on its application in an online environment.


In this increasingly global economy,an intellectual property protection and enforcement program must consider not only the different types of intellectual property rights available to protect intellectual property, but also the legal landscape in the territory where the intellectual property asset is to be manufactured, maintained and/or marketed.  Intellectual Property Law in the US is a survey of patent, trademark, trade dress, copyright and semiconductor mask works, and trade secret law in the United States which is an indisputably important market for many products.  For each type of intellectual property, the course discusses: 1) the source of the rights, how they are acquired and their duration and territoriality; 2) the subject matter that is eligible for protection; 3) the nature and scope of the rights and what is protected;  4) what constitutes infringement of the rights and what remedies and defenses are available for such infringement.  The course content is mostly directed to patents, including utility, plant and design patents, and addresses patent examination procedures and the variety of available post-issuance procedures in the US Patent and Trademark Office; the patentability of software and business methods; novelty, obviousness and claim form requirements for patentability; the doctrine of equivalents; and patent searching. Major differences between US IP law and European law are pointed out and discussed.  The recent US patent law revisions--the most comprehensive and extensive revisions in 60 years--are fully addressed.  The course also explains the patent and trademark searching process to identify prior art and similar registrations, respectively.  Finally, there are two case study problems designed to illustrate real world scenarios and the application of several key patent and trademark legal principles.

Academic Writing

The course is aimed at post-graduate students and junior researchers in the Law Faculty, and is designed to impart techniques for successfully writing and publishing legal articles in the English language. It will address matters of linguistic style, presentation of arguments and structure, and also give practical tips on choosing appropriate Journals for submission.

Courses held in German

Krisenphänomen Rechtstheorie? Juristisches Entscheiden im elektronischen Zeitalter (Schwerpunkt: Zivilrechtliche Aspekte des IT Rechts)

Diese Veranstaltung stellt sich vor allem folgende Frage: Ist die überkommene juristische Methodenlehre geeignet, juristisches Arbeiten in unserer Zeit adäquat zu beschreiben und anzuleiten? Der besondere Schwerpunkt der Veranstaltung liegt an die Anpassungsmöglichkeiten der klassischen Regelungen und Interpretationsmechanismen des BGB im Zeitalter globaler Vernetzung. Sind die Regeln des BGB noch geeignet bzw. anpassungsfähig um die neue Herausforderungen des Internet und der vernetzten Gesellschaft zu meistern?


Die EDV hat alle gesellschaftlichen Bereiche verändert. Diese Entwicklung hat zwangsläufig zu neuartigen Gefährdungen und Schutzbedürfnissen des Individuums wie auch der Allgemeinheit geführt. Datenschutz, Überwachungsstaat, Computerkriminalität, Internetkriminalität sind einige der Stichworte, die die Herausforderungen an das Recht durch die Datenverarbeitung markieren. Die Lehrveranstaltung will die Erscheinungsformen der Computerkriminalität aufzeigen und mit den neuen Strafgesetzen zur Bekämpfung von Computerkriminalität vertraut machen. Der Schwerpunkt liegt bei der strafrechtlichen Bewertung, wobei von besonderer Wichtigkeit ist, die EDV-spezifischen Besonderheiten dieser Kriminalität herauszuarbeiten, um einer Überkriminalisierung jeglicher EDV-Missbräuche vorzubeugen.

Vertragsdesign, Vertragsverhandlungen, Vertragsrecht im Bereich IT: Schwerpunkt: Data Protection: Corporate compliance under the GDPR

Die Aufgabe Verträge zu entwerfen, zu verhandeln, durchzuführen und rechtlich zu überprüfen gehört zu den herausragenden Tätigkeiten der Juristen in der IT-Branche. Der Kurs vermittelt, gestützt auf rechtsberatende Praxis, die Grundlagen und Techniken, die dazu gehören und erörtert wichtige Fragen des europäischen Vertrags- und Datenschutzrechts. Der Schwerpunkt der Veranstaltung liegt an die Anpassung der vertrags- und unternehmerischen Praxis zu den Vorschriften der neulich verabschiedeten DSGVO. Aufgrund der großen Anzahl von ausländischen Studierenden wird der Kurs diesem WiSe auf Englisch stattfinden. Deutsche Studierenden sind allerdings sehr willkommen.

Recht des elektronischen Geschäftsverkehrs in Recht und Verwaltung, inklusive Vergaberecht im Bereich der Informationstechnologien 
Es wird ein Überblick über die verschiedenen Formen des elektronischen Geschäftsverkehrs in Industrie und Verwaltung gegeben. Dabei werden die für diesen Bereich relevanten nationalen und internationalen Initiativen und gesetzgeberischen Regelwerke erläutert. Erörtert werden insbesondere die wesentlichen wirtschaftlichen und rechtlichen Aspekte von Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) / E-Business im industriellen und administrativen Kontext. Die elektronische Zusammenarbeit von Unternehmen mit öffentlichen und privaten Geschäftspartnern wird am Beispiel des öffentlichen Auftragswesens dargestellt.

IT Prozess- und Verfahrensrecht 

In diesem Kurs sollen die verschiedenen Möglichkeiten sowie spezielle Probleme der Rechtsdurchsetzung in IT-Rechtsstreitigkeiten vermittelt werden, wobei der Kurs neben IT-Streitigkeiten auch die damit verwandten und in der Praxis der Prozessführung besonders häufigen IP-Streitigkeiten behandelt. Dabei wird neben den Grundlagen des Verletzungsprozesses ein besonderes Schwergewicht auf die in der IT- / IP-Rechts-Praxis besonders relevante einstweilige Verfügung gelegt. Ein Schwerpunkt des Kurses stellt der Verletzungsprozess dar, d. h. die Verletzungen von Software, Markenrechten etc., etwa durch Produktpiraten mit den verschiedenen Klagemöglichkeiten, Rechtsdurchsetzungs-strategien und prozessualen Fragestellungen.