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Reproduced with permission from the Cornell Review of the Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (1995) 51-94

excerpt from

Judicial Interpretation and Application of the CISG in Germany 1988-1994

Martin Karollus [*]

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Article 3

German courts have applied the CISG via Article 3(1) in three cases involving contracts for the manufacture of goods. In the first case, an Italian manufacturer contracted to produce shoes according to the detailed instructions of the German buyer [OLG Frankfurt 17 September 1991].[77] In the second case, the American manufacturer promised to produce a machine for an industrial plant [OLG Düsseldorf 2 July 1993].[78] In the third case, a French manufacturer of computer printers developed software for the special needs of the buyer [OLG Koblenz 17 September 1993].[79]

None of these contracts are sales contracts under German law because German sales law is applicable only if the goods manufactured are generic.[80] If the goods are custom-made, the provisions concerning a Werkvertrag (contract of manufacture) apply.[81]

Nevertheless, the contracts are sales contracts under the CISG; the only distinction made by the CISG concerns the origin of the raw or component materials.[82] Since these materials were not supplied by the buyer, the CISG properly applied.

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* Professor of Law at the University of Bonn, Germany, from 1992 to February 1995. Currently, Professor of Law at the University of Linz, Austria. Address: Institut für Handels-und Wertpapierrecht, Universität Linz, A-4040 Linz-Auhof, Austria, Europe.

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77. Judgment of Sept. 17, 1991, OLG Frankfurt am Main, 1991 RIW 950.

78. Judgment of July 2, 1993, OLG Düsseldorf, 1993 RIW 845.

79. Judgment of Sept. 17, 1993, OLG Koblenz, 1993 RIW 934.

80. Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch [BGB] § 651.

81. BGB §§ 633-50.

82. CISG Article 3(1) states: "Contracts for the supply of goods to be manufactured or produced are to be considered sales unless the party who orders the goods undertakes to supply a substantial part of the materials. . . ." CISG, supra note 4, art. 3(1). No court has yet considered the meaning of "substantial part." For discussion of the interpretation of "substantial part," see Honnold, supra note 1, § 59; Herber & Czerwenka, supra note 16, at 28; Karollus, supra note 20, at 22-23; Rolf Herber, Art. 3: Verträge über herzustellende Waren oder Dienstleistungen, in Kommentar zum Einheitlichen UN-Kaufrecht 68 (Ernst van Caemmerer & Peter Schlechtriem eds., 2d ed. 1995).

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Pace Law School Institute of International Commercial Law - Last updated August 16, 1999

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