Made in Germany

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Cartoon im Punch on June 27, 1917 about the renaming of the British royal family from Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to Windsor . In the picture you can see the words "MADE IN GERMANY" above the crowns.

Made in Germany (English for Made in Germany ) is a designation of origin . Originally introduced in Great Britain at the end of the 19th century as a protection against supposedly cheap and inferior imported goods , the name is now regarded as a seal of approval in the eyes of many consumers . According to an international study from 2017, Made in Germany enjoys a high international reputation and is number 1 out of 52 countries in the Made-in-Country-Index .

So far (2013) "Made in ..." - designations of origin in the EU are voluntary. Also are manufacturers relatively free in their products to be described as "Made in Germany", although they were made to a large extent abroad.

On October 17, 2013, the Internal Market Committee in the European Parliament decided to require manufacturers and importers of products to indicate the country of origin. You should orient yourself to the EU customs rules ; this is likely to make it difficult or impossible for many German companies to still sell products, some of which are manufactured abroad, as "Made in Germany".

The EU Commission is considering changing the customs code . Then the greatest value-adding part of the manufacturing process would be decisive - and that is with many "Made in Germany" products, for example in China . The planned change can come into force when the EU Commission and the European Parliament have agreed on a common position. It remains to be seen whether this will succeed.

The manufacturers justify the use of the “Made in Germany” seal of approval for products that are wholly or partially manufactured abroad with research, design and quality assurance that are based in Germany and correspond to German values.


As in the second half of the 19th century also in other European countries , the industrialization began, who took exports them to the United Kingdom. These imported goods were of supposedly inferior quality and some products were imitation products and plagiarism . Some of these products came from Germany, so German goods soon had a bad reputation. For example, at the 1876 ​​World's Fair in Philadelphia , the German judge Franz Reuleaux passed the value judgment: German goods are cheap and bad .

On August 23, 1887, the English Parliament therefore passed the Merchandise Marks Act 1887 . This stipulated that the country of origin must be clearly stated on goods . Imported goods became recognizable for everyone. One trigger for this development in Great Britain was, among other things, goods from Chemnitz at the London World Exhibition in 1862 ; these broke the English dominance in mechanical engineering for the first time . For example, the famous jury member Sir Joseph Whitworth described Johann von Zimmermann's machines for the first time as “very good indeed”.

In 1891 the “ Madrid Agreement on the Suppression of False Indications of Origin on Goods ” was agreed. Many other countries adopted this labeling requirement.

Reuleaux's comment sparked an enormous quality offensive in Germany; Many German goods were increasingly superior to the respective British products in terms of quality and / or price-performance ratio . “Made in Germany” soon worked like a seal of quality; the negatively intended product labeling had the opposite effect.

During the First World War, Great Britain tightened these regulations to make it easier for the British to recognize and boycott goods from war opponents (see also Buy British ). The labeling requirement continued after the First World War.

After the Second World War , “Made in Germany” became a synonym for the German economic miracle . Through the export successes of the Federal Republic of Germany (see export world champions ) and in the course of globalization , it became known worldwide. Products from the GDR were marked with either Made in GDR or Made in Germany . As a distinction to the latter, products from the Federal Republic bore the label Made in W. Germany .

In the age of globalization , more products than before contain parts (for example preliminary products or intermediate products ) from other countries. A well-known example is car production: large manufacturers such as Volkswagen generate around 30% to 40% of the added value themselves; the remaining 60% to 70% are provided by the suppliers ; they supply, for example, seats, dashboards or entire front sections (see also vertical integration ).

Some large companies use notes such as “Made by Mercedes-Benz ”, “Made by BMW ”, “designed in Germany”, “designed and developed in Germany” or “engineered in Germany” in their marketing and advertising . In doing so, they implicitly indicate that the place of production is (has become) less important than it used to be.

At the moment, products can still be labeled “Made in Germany” even if over 90% of them were manufactured abroad, as long as the final assembly takes place in Germany.

In addition to country references (e.g. "Made in France"), there is also " Made in EU " for manufactured in the European Union .

Legal view

Stamp "Made in GDR" for marking carpets from VEB Halbmond-Werke in Oelsnitz / Vogtl. (Carpet Museum Oelsnitz)
  • Efforts by the economy of the Federal Republic of Germany to deny goods from the GDR the label Made in Germany failed. The Federal Court of Justice saw this - in its decisive decision in 1973 - not inadmissibly misleading. The judgment of March 23, 1973 reads:

“A German product is regularly expected to be manufactured by a German company in Germany. The decisive factor is that the properties or components of the goods that make up their value in the eyes of the public are based on a German performance. ”It is true that“ the fact that now in the Federal Republic of Germany comes from both the Federal Republic and the GDR Goods with the designation 'Made in Germany' or 'Germany' are distributed ... that the buyer - unless additional information excludes any doubts - remains unclear as to which of the two German states the goods come from, and he insofar is subject to erroneous ideas. This danger of wrong ideas of origin, resulting from the political division of the former German Reich, must be accepted. "

After this judgment at the latest, the label Made in West Germany or Made in Western Germany (made in West Germany ) became generally accepted for goods from the Federal Republic . Goods from the GDR intended for export were increasingly labeled Made in GDR (abbreviation for German Democratic Republic , also made in the GDR ), as had already been provided for in the ordinance on labeling the origin of goods of 7 May 1970.

“The indication of Germany in the sense of Made in Germany is misleading if numerous essential parts of a device come from abroad. Even if individual parts or entire assemblies of an industrial product were purchased abroad, the product may bear the designation Made in Germany , provided that the services have been provided in Germany that are decisive for the property of the goods that are essential for the appreciation of traffic in Stand in the foreground. "

Clues are:

  1. significant manufacture of the goods in Germany
  2. decisive share of added value through assembly in Germany
  3. significant refinement of the product in Germany
  • The ruling of the Stuttgart Regional Court from 2002 shows a specification in the UWG that there is a misleading within the meaning of § 3 UWG in the 2004 version if a multimedia PC, essential components such as a graphics card, the hard drive, the DVD -Rom drive, the burner and the mainboard were manufactured abroad and advertised with the information that the quality is "Made in Germany".
  • Some countries, such as the United States, with their 19 USCA § 1304 “ Marking of imported articles and containers ”, use much more precise and narrower legal definitions .
  • At the level of the European Union, the use of designations of origin (as of 2005) is not comprehensively regulated by guidelines .

The CJEU ruled in 1985 that a United Kingdom law that excludes goods without sufficient indication of origin from imports is capable of unjustifiably hindering trade in the Community.

“A national regulation, according to which the retail sale of certain goods imported from other member states is prohibited, if these are not provided with an origin marking or this is not attached to them, causes an increase in the production costs of the imported goods and makes their sale more difficult. Although it applies indiscriminately to domestic and imported goods, it is in fact, and by its nature, intended to enable the consumer to distinguish between these two types of goods, which can lead him to prefer domestic goods. It is not justified on the basis of mandatory consumer protection requirements . "

See also


  • Lothar Gross: Germany's Economic History from Industrialization to Today Volume 1: 1800–1945. 2012, ISBN 978-3-8482-1042-8

Web links

Commons : Made in Germany  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Made in Germany from stigma to seal of quality on
  2. Olga Scheer: Global study: "Made in Germany" is the most popular label in the world. In: SPIEGEL ONLINE. March 26, 2017. Retrieved April 15, 2019 .
  3. New attack on "Made in Germany" on on October 17, 2013.
  4. Made in Germany dangerous seal of approval on
  5. Hans-Joachim Braun: Cheap and bad? Franz Reuleaux 'criticism of German industry and his economic policy proposals 1876/77. (PDF file; 861 kB), in: Culture and Technology, Volume 9 1985, Issue 2, pp. 106–114.
  6. ^ : Merchandise Marks Act 1887 .
  7. For example the tire manufacturer Continental AG : Automobile
  8. The confusion about the seal of approval in Handelsblatt from January 16, 2012.
  9. ^ BGH, judgment of March 23, 1973, Az. I ZR 33/72, full text .
  10. ^ BGH, judgment of March 23, 1973, Az. I ZR 33/72, GRUR 1974, 665, 666.
  11. OLG Stuttgart, judgment of November 10, 1995, Az. 2 U 124/95, extracts
  12. ^ Judgments on "Made in Germany" : LG Frankfurt , judgment of December 11, 1987, Az. 2/60559/87; OLG Stuttgart, judgment of February 10, 1995, Az. 2 U 238/94, full text .
  13. LG Stuttgart, judgment of February 27, 2003, Az. 35 O 170/02,
  14. TITLE 19 — CUSTOMS DUTIES> CHAPTER 4> SUBTITLE II> Part I> § 1304 Marking of imported articles and containers
  15. Directive 2005/29 / EC (PDF) of the European Parliament and of the Council of May 11, 2005 on unfair business practices in internal market transactions between companies and consumers
  16. Look inside the book