Dispute over weather warning app Wetteronline in court again

Cologne/Bonn · The dispute over a weather warning app between the Bonn company Wetteronline and the German Weather Service (DWD) continues. The DWD appealed a decision of the district court Bonn which had prohibited the company from offering a free-of-charge app.

The legal dispute over a weather warning app by the DWD enters the next round, and will now be dealt with at the Higher Regional Court in Cologne.

Originally the District Court in Bonn had decided in November that the DWD is not allowed to offer the weather warning app free-of-charge anymore. The Bonn company Wetteronline had sued the DWD because the company was offering a product as a public-financed authority, thus competing with private providers. That was considered unfair by Wetteronline. The District Court agreed with this interpretation. The DWD is not acting as a public body but as a commercial enterprise, the court ruled back then.

On Friday, both parties met again in Cologne, where the DWD had appealed the decision. The leading judge of the 6th civil senate, Hubertus Nolte, did not generally question the reasoning by Wetteronline. He rather considered the basis of the decision.

On one hand the senate examined if the claim was „sufficiently certain“ or too general. Also the question remains if a „business transaction“ by the DWD exists at all, which the district Court in Bonn based its decision on.

Nolte doubts this argument because the DWD has no intention as a public institution of being in competition with private enterprise. With the app the DWD is just fulfilling its public obligations, said Nolte.

Since the decision of the district court in December, the DWD must demand payment for the use of the weather warning app, which also supplies its users with other data.

A decision in this case is expected in approximately three weeks.

(Originaltext: Nadine Klees, Translation: Mareike Graepel)

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