Current legal status

Note: The information on these sites gives no legal advice.

According to German law (cf. § 37a HGB (= German Commercial Code), § 35 GmbHG (= Limited Liability Companies Act) and § 80 AktG (= Corporation Law)) e-mails are legally handled the same as business letters. Infringements of the guidelines can result in fines as well as reminders sent by competitors.

Thus, even in commercial e-mails the information about the company has to be contained. Due to the fact that e.g. offers, orders, written notices and newsletters actually are a matter of commercial correspondence, in case of a private limited company (Ltd) the e-mail must contain the company name including legal form, location of the companies' register, the competent register court as well as the Commercial Registration Number, all managing directors and if necessary the chairman of the supervisory board.

Not every employee has to adapt his signature according to these guidelines, but only those who act in a legally binding way e.g. persons with full signing power.

To whom apply mandatory fields?

  • Sole traders
  • Partnerships like e.g. general partnership, limited partnership and limited partnership with a limited liability company as general partner
  • Private limited companies (Ltds)
  • Aktiengesellschaften
  • Public limited companies (plcs)
  • Cooperatives

Which information has to be included?

  • The complete company name, as it is registered in the companies’ register, partnership register or Register of Cooperative Societies
  • Add-on of legal form (e.g. Ltd, limited partnership, general partnership, plc, registered merchant etc.)
  • Headquarters of the company (the statutory “headquarters” has to be indicated, even if the e-mail is sent by a subsidiary)
  • Company registration number (of the company's headquarters, not of any subsidiary)
  • Register court (of the company's headquarters, not of any subsidiary)

Additional information for private limited companies (Ltds):

  • All managing directors with full name
  • if existent, the chairman of the supervisory board with full name

Additional information for public limited companies (plcs):

  • All members of the board with full name, whereby the CEO has to be referred to as such
  • Full name of the CEO

We do not guarantee the completeness of this information and do not take the responsibility for any fines.