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Electronic Commerce Law


Course Type and Contact Hours

Distance learning course via Blackboard

Course Language



6 (if exam has been passed)


This course will be held at irregular intervals, rather in the winter term than in the summer term. It will be available in the winter term 2014/15.

Course Description

Under the heading "Electronic Commerce" and more recently "Mobile Commerce", companies pursue a vast number of commercial activities. In doing so, businesses face legal problems in nearly all traditional areas of the law (such as contracts, torts, constitutional law, administrative law, intellectual property, etc.). Additionally, companies have to consider a number of issues that are specific to doing business via the Internet and mobile networks either because of technology specific aspects (e.g., signing a contract on a small cell phone screen electronically) or because traditional legal issues have a far greater practical dimension in cyberspace (e.g., trademarks). We will approach these eBusiness specific issues in our lecture on Electronic Commerce by following a traditional business in its endeavor to transit from an existing offline business to a modern online business. For best illustration, we will take one of the most basic and low-technology industries that you can imagine: A fishing outfitter who provides services (accommodation and guides) and simple goods (fishing equipment) for sale and rent. We will accompany the transition into Electronic and Mobile Commerce step by step in order to address the most relevant legal issues in a systematic and structured manner. In doing so, we will of course look at cases and materials that concern other, more technologically sophisticated industries such as the computer and entertainment industry. Due to their core know-how and financial strength, these industries naturally occupied the electronic and mobile commerce field much earlier. Yet, we will find that most of the legal challenges faced by high tech businesses are also relevant for any other business that goes online - even if it is as traditional and technologically simple as a fishing outfitter.

Objective of the lecture will be to familiarize students with the typical legal problems in electronic and mobile commerce around the world. Topics covered will include intellectual property, contracts, competition, commercial, and data privacy law. Method of teaching will be the introduction of hypotheticals and brand new cases and their review under applicable laws as well as economic and policy considerations.

We will work remotely via the "Blackboard" website through various tasks and materials.

More information on this course is available on the website http://www.prof-determann.info/

Course Registration

Please register via e-mail with Dr. Lothar Determann, Attorney-at-Law (Baker & McKenzie, San Francisco) e-mail: ldetermann@bakernet.com


There will be a written homework.

Registration for the Exam

Students have to register for the exam with the course instructor. They are not required to register formally at the Examination Office.