German edit

Etymology edit

From Middle High German eigentuom. Equivalent to eigen (own) +‎ -tum (-dom), compare Dutch eigendom.

Pronunciation edit

  • IPA(key): /ˈaɪɡəntuːm/
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  • Hyphenation: Ei‧gen‧tum

Noun edit

Eigentum n (strong, genitive Eigentumes or Eigentums, plural Eigentümer or Eigentume)

  1. (uncountable) the right of one to in general do as he will with a corporeal object and exclude others from it
    Hypernyms: Herrschaftsrecht, absolutes Recht, dingliches Recht
  2. (countable, archaic) an object exclusively owned, property, estate, belongings

Usage notes edit

Common translations of the term are ownership and property, however the technical usage is restricted and does not allow for it to be used with the same objects as these terms are in English.

Eigentum is, as above defined, the most exclusive right in the legal area of Sachenrecht concerning rights towards corporeal objects, that translates as property law, which term however in Anglo-Saxon legal systems beyond Eigentum also treats other rights of someone’s full estate, Vermögen, and its pieces, Vermögensbestandteile.

Derivative to this traditional meaning, the fundamental right in Art. 14 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany regarding Eigentum protects all valuable legal positions that are assigned to someone for his exclusive private use and disposal, even if not Eigentum in the civil law sense.

It is then in sciences with less regard to the native tradition or the law itself as a subject (say business administration), that other legal positions can be Eigentum. So terms like geistiges Eigentum (intellectual property), not referring to corporeal objects, are strictly translationese and a misnomer and do not occur in the internal legal systems of the German-speaking countries, except as a comparative law and international law catchword. While an economic work might refer to a Markeneigentümer (brand owner), legal works would refer to a Markeninhaber (brand owner), as Inhaberschaft denotes any legal position as English ownership does.

In either cases however, the corresponding verbs eignen and innehaben are not in common use anymore but stilted; the former, for the technical sense of owning a corporeal object, is suppleted by gehören.

Declension edit

Derived terms edit

Further reading edit