Origin, Scope and Objectives
The German Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property (GRUR) is the largest and oldest association in Germany that is devoted to the protection of intellectual property. It is also known under the abbreviation "GRUR" and the name "Grüner Verein" (Green Association).
GRUR was founded in Berlin in the year 1891, initially as an association of those interested in intellectual property and competition law, copyright law being included later, for the purpose of advancing the academic debate on pertinent legal issues and - as stated at that time - in order to provide assistance to the government with regard to the difficult responsibility of undertaking legislative work in that field of law.
Today, the purpose of the Association according to its statutes is the academic advancement and development of industrial property and copyright law at the German, European and international level, i.e. in the field of law today called "intellectual property law".
Members of the GRUR Association are German and foreign individuals - lawyers, patent attorneys, judges, academics, professors, as well as enterprises, associations of enterprises and their respective staff members and representatives. Staff members of the German and European trademark and patent authorities and of the international organisations competent for the protection of intellectual property are also among the members. GRUR has remained an organisation constantly attracting new members, due to the broad scope and the constant high quality of its activities. In 2008 approximately 5,000 natural and legal persons were GRUR members, including a considerable and increasing number of foreign persons.The members are organised in seven domestic regional groups and working groups.
GRUR discusses issues of intellectual property protection at annual meetings, monthly events at the regional groups and in academic publications, thus contributing to the academic discussion and further development of this area of law, while at the same time enhancing the knowledge of its members. Assistance provided to the national, European and international legislative bodies and to the authorities competent for issues of intellectual property protection remains a major part of the activities. In contact with national and international associations and organisations devoted to the same or a similar subject matter, GRUR participates in the discussion of current issues and developments in the field of intellectual property.
GRUR does not pursue personal, professional or commercial interests, but exclusively and directly academic objectives of a non-profit nature.
The protection of intellectual property rights is gaining in significance. Whereas 50 years ago real property, machinery and material goods formed the major part of the assets of an enterprise, these are now determined increasingly by elements of intellectual property. The globalisation of the economy generates a need for appropriate global protection.
GRUR has responded to these developments and established a position for "international affairs" in its secretariat in 2004, the aim being to develop the international engagement of the Association and to present itself as a discussion partner to the competent international authorities, particularly the European Commission, WIPO, the European Union's Trade Marks and Designs Office (OHIM) and the European Patent Office (EPO).
In the course of this "internationalisation" of the Association, GRUR was granted the status of an observer at WIPO in 2005, participating since then in meetings of the competent committees of this important organisation. Since 2006 GRUR is a member of the "Users' Group" of OHIM, participates in hearings of the EU Commission, organises since 2005 the "GRUR meets Brussels" workshop in Brussels, and is also engaged in an exchange of views and cooperation with European and international sister organisations. In order to enhance the professional academic exchange of views, GRUR takes part in international conferences and meetings, also inviting foreign speakers and guests to its own events. The working programme of the annual meetings also regularly includes international subjects. To this end German-English simultaneous interpretation has been made available to foreign participants since 2008.
For the purpose of information and legal education, GRUR offers the following events to its members and other interested circles in Germany and abroad:
- At the Association's annual meetings national and international intellectual property issues are debated in speeches, podium discussions and symposia. The annual meetings are organised by different regional GRUR groups each year. They allow participants to broaden their specialist knowledge, to participate in discussions and to meet with friends and colleagues.
- The regional groups hold - usually monthly - meetings with lectures and discussions on current problems and developments.
- In cooperation with the "DeutscheAnwaltAkademie" of the German Bar Association (Deutscher Anwaltsverein) and the German Chamber of Patent Attorneys (Patentanwaltskammer), training seminars held by experienced judges, lawyers, administrative officials and acad emics are offered.
- Special courses are held for lawyers wishing to qualify as specialists in intellectual property law.
- Every one or two years GRUR holds the workshop "GRUR meets Brussels" for an exchange of views with representatives of the European Commission, the European Parliament and interested circles on issues of European law.
Since its foundation over 100 years ago the Association has published the renowned monthly professional journal "Gewerblicher Rechtsschutz und Urheberrecht", also abbreviated as "GRUR", which was supplemented in 1953 by the monthly journal "GRUR International."The case law report "GRUR-RR" has been published since 2001, and since 1967 a series of monographs under the title "GRUR Abhandlungen".
The publications include academic contributions on issues of German, European and international intellectual property law as well as significant case law and legislative material. Since the covers of the printed publications are in a distinctive green, for several decades now the names "Grüne Zeitschriften" ("Green Journals") and "Grüner Verein" ("Green Association") have become the commonly used names of the publications and the Association itself.
GRUR maintains an academic fund which provides financial aid to selected university chairs and research projects, among other things by granting fellowships. In remembrance of the Secretary General of GRUR over many years, the "Ralf Vieregge fellowship" is awarded for the preparation of a post-doctoral thesis.