A key competition law development in Switzerland in 2020: Private enforcement of antitrust law is notoriously difficult in Europe, and it is practically impossible for victims of antitrust violations, especially SMEs, to obtain justice at a reasonable cost. However, every decision by civil courts and authorities has the potential to take a small or large step towards strengthening private interests:
- Civil court protects independent automotive service partner: The Cantonal Court of Lucerne ruled that an independent brand service partner in the premium segment who met all of the importer’s qualitative standards was entitled under antitrust law to a service partner contract and thus to be included in the brand’s official workshop network. The decision was issued at the end of 2019 and was made on a precautionary basis; no decision has yet been made on the merits (Cantonal Court of Lucerne 1F 19 2 of 29.10.2019).
- Swiss Competition Commission (WEKO) honours private compensation payment in sanction ruling: As a result of a submission cartel for construction services in the canton of Graubünden, the Competition Commission imposed significant sanction payments on several construction companies. For the first time, private compensation payments were taken into account when calculating the sanctions: Specifically, the fine imposed by the Cartel Office was reduced by half of the compensation payment made. We welcome this approach, because the interest in indemnification is helped to prevail without costly court proceedings (decision of the Competition Commission Investigation 22-0457 of 19.8.2019).
A place to visit in Switzerland after the pandemic: Be sure to visit Lake Lucerne Region incl. the city of Lucerne in the heart of Switzerland and Europe as soon as you can travel again.
Prof. Dr. Patrick L. Krauskopf is chairman of AGON Partners and head of the Center for Competition Law at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences. Prior to joining AGON, he was, inter alia, both the deputy director and then the chief of international affairs with the Swiss Competition Commission (COMCO). He studied at the Universities of Fribourg and Berkeley (Master’s, 1991; Ph.D., 1999) and at Harvard Law School (LL.M., 2005). Besides being admitted to all Swiss courts he has also passed the New York Bar.