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The 'tell friend functionality' on a company's homepage is to be considered anticompetitive

The German Supreme Court (in a ruling from September 12, 2013, reference number I ZR 208/12) decided that due to the 'tell a friend functionality' on a company's website the email sent to any third party is to consider a unsolicited commercial email (§ 7 paragraph 2, number 3 UWG).

In the present case the defendant sent an email to the applicant; a visitor on the defendant' site used the 'tell the friend functionality' and entered the defendant's email address. The applicant disagreed with the defendant to receive such an email. According to the German Supreme Court there is no difference between an email sent by the normal user and an email sent by a third party who uses the  'tell a friend functionality' on a website. In both cases the receiver cannot but accept this kind of commercial emails.  For this reason emails with recommendations can be sent only with the receiver's prior consent. In our present case, however, the applicant has never given his consent to receive the email.