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Practices and Industries

GRAEF Rechtsanwälte, with offices in Hamburg and Berlin, specializes in high-end legal advice on complex matters in the areas of media law, entertainment law, and intellectual property law. Our lawyers draw on years of industry experience in various media. The film industry, gaming industry, and publishing industry need advisors who understand the convergence of the media and the internationalization of the business and who provide steadfast support – while maintaining the highest level of legal excellence. We face up to this challenge.

Our clients include leading German and international media companies from the film industry, gaming industry, publishing industry, and live entertainment industry, as well as advertising agencies, theater companies, and lifestyle brands. In addition, we represent “creatives,” such as authors, directors, actors, photographers, designers, and game developers, etc., advising them on how to best protect their creative output.

In addition, we advise founders, innovative start-ups, and young technology companies on all legal aspects of intellectual property, in particular on the realization and protection of their innovative ideas.

In the area of crisis communication, we represent companies and celebrities to protect their privacy and publicity rights.

Another key service we provide is advising start-ups and young technology companies on how to best realize their innovative ideas. We have both the technological understanding and the necessary legal know-how in all areas of intellectual property and media law to do so reliably and effectively. Our clients include well-known young FinTech and Health Tech companies. Especially for companies in the start-up phase, early and prudent protection of their business models and brands is crucial. We help our clients avoid pitfalls, for example, expensive and time-consuming rebranding processes.

One of our main areas of expertise is the representation of authors of copyrightable works as well as media companies and intermediaries that commercially exploit these works. We draft contracts for the commercial exploitation of screenplays, films, books, photographs, musical works, games, designs, plays, and illustrations, and successfully represent our clients’ interests in this context on the basis of our many years of experience. In addition, we represent “creatives,” such as authors, directors, actors, photographers, designers, and game developers, etc., advising them on how to best protect their creative output: In the event of copyright infringements, we enforce our clients’ rights in a targeted and efficient manner.

We advise all parties involved in the production and distribution of a film on all legal issues by negotiating and drafting contracts in the film and television sector, from financing of the film to production and commercial exploitation of the film. Our clients include film production companies and television stations, web-TV and IP-TV stations, video-on-demand platforms, rights brokers and rights agencies and all service providers from the film industry, as well as all creative and above-the-line personnel, such as directors, actors and authors.

Our expertise ranges from national and international movies, TV shows and TV series to international co-productions, animated movies, documentaries, web series and transmedia productions. We draft and negotiate all key contracts, from development to movie financing, pre-production, principal photography and post-production, and, finally, exploitation of the movie.

We advise national and international book and magazine publishers on all questions of publishing law as well as on the protection of trademarks and titles. We provide legal expertise on expanding the product portfolio by licensing merchandising products and adding audio-books and digital offers such as e-books, enhanced e-books, apps or downloads.

We represent publishers as well as companies, celebrities and private individuals whose rights have been infringed by broadcasters, internet platforms, publishers or other media companies or by the publication of texts or images. Our daily work involves the enforcement and defense of claims for injunctive relief, retraction, damages, and the publication of opposing viewpoints in accordance with German defamation law. We also assist celebrities and companies with reputation management and litigation PR.

We represent developers of custom software and standard software, and draft IT agreements for all industries (e.g., software license agreements, software purchase agreements, SAAS agreements). Our clients also include IT service providers. We provide a broad spectrum of services, from drafting and reviewing provider agreements (access, hosting, ASP), agreements for apps, support agreements, system agreements, general terms and conditions, terms of sale, software escrow agreements, and service level agreements, to prosecuting or defending warranty claims when software is defective. We also advise on data privacy and outsourcing issues.

We represent numerous companies from the entire value chain of the games industry. In addition to national and international publishers and developers, these include in particular sound studios, marketing companies and other service providers in the games industry. We advise on the financing of computer games, draft development and publishing agreements, EULA, GTC and clarify licensing issues of all kinds. Our services are complemented by advice on the protection of minors and data protection law. We have years of extensive industry knowledge and experience with PC games, console games and mobile games.

We advise innovative technology companies, media companies and creatives on all legal issues arising in connection with the Internet, including domain names, liability on the Internet, general terms and conditions of use and legal notices that are fully in compliance with applicable law, online trading, as well as all content distribution agreements.

We advise clients on all data protection issues and related data protection obligations owed by companies to regulatory authorities or data subjects. We design data protection policies for company websites, draft third-party data processing agreements in national and international settings, and serve as external data protection officers if requested by clients.

A trademark is a powerful asset for any company and an important building block of entrepreneurial success. The protection of trademarks, as well as their enforcement and defense, are key services provided by our firm. We strategically support our clients in building and growing their national and international trademark portfolios, be it in the form of German trademarks registered with the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA), EU trademarks registered with the European Trademark Office (EUIPO), or international trademarks registered with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). With the help of our worldwide partner law firms, we also file national trademark applications in other countries, especially in the U.S.A., China, Japan, or South Korea. We manage the trademark portfolios of media companies as well as lifestyle brands, and we have extensive experience combating trademark infringements, both in and out of court. We also offer special expertise for the licensing of rights and for so-called “domain name grabbing”.

We protect the designs of our clients, discourage potential infringers from exploiting the intellectual property of our clients without their consent, and resolutely prosecute any infringements. We draft license agreements for the commercial exploitation of designs in the international licensing industry.

Unfair competition law defines the rules of the game for competition between market participants and protects them from unfair methods of competition. Due to more competitive market conditions, competitors are keeping a close eye on whether these unfair competition rules are being followed by others. We support and review advertising campaigns of companies for compliance with unfair competition law, and we have special expertise in challenging and defending such campaigns.