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Specialist Guide to the

Global Leaders in Media Law Practice

SWITZERLAND

The Swiss parliament passed its Federal Act on Data Protection (FADP) in September last year, making it an important year for legislative change. Meanwhile, Liberty Global’s CHF6.8 billion deal (USD7.43 billion) represented the latest market consolidation.


The new FADP is comparable to the EU’s GDPR, and is expected to enter into force in 2022.


Among updates, the FADP will only protect data of natural persons. The law will no longer provide protection for legal entities, which is in keeping with GDPR provisions.


The FADP outlines strict information duties that data controllers must adhere to, and greater fines of up to CHF250,000 (approx. USD280,000).


In August, Liberty Global announced its all-cash deal to buy Switzerland’s Sunrise Communications in the latest consolidation in the telecoms market.

Sunrise Communications is the dominant provider of internet and cable TV services. The deal is subject to regulatory approval.


Other developments include OTT expansion, with the launch of SRG’s Play Suisse, a new on-demand platform. The platform launched in November


Play Suisse offers multilingual content with subtitles in German, French and Italian, as well as the content’s original language.


Bakel Walden, Head of the SRG Digital Board, commented: “With Play Suisse we can now further develop a platform that has a recognisable connection to our current digital offering.”


TIER 1

Bär & Karrer works extensively with operators of satellite and cable television services on regulatory and contractual issues. The practice, focussed on media and sports law, is appointed by publishers, composers, musicians, authors, and other artists. Led by Michele Bernasconi, the media team negotiates television rights agreements, handles related complex disputes and advises on regulatory matters connected with online streaming.


Homburger is a well regarded practice for its work on media and intellectual property. Led by practice head Gregor Bühler, the team advises on sports marketing law, broadcasting rights and online content. The practice is known for its focus on unfair competition, regulation and compliance. Lawyers also represent clients in state court litigation and arbitration. Other areas of focus include licensing, technology transfer, distribution and franchising agreements.


The media team at Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law  is highly regarded for its extensive experience advising on multiple segments of media including publishing and broadcast. Clients and competitors praise the firm for its high visibility and quality of advice. One client said: “We have always been very pleased with the service provided by Pestalozzi. This refers to deadline adherence, short notice requests and additional services.” Under the leadership of Lorenza Ferrari Hofer, the IP and TMT group advises on social media, advertising, unfair competition and data protection.


Media specialist Vischer is among national leaders for digital media matters. According to one client “The firm does excellent work. Not only in the core areas of media law but also in other practice areas where we need support, for example tax law and labour law.” With an entertainment specialisation, the practice group advises on television broadcast, film, music and gaming. Managed by Rolf Auf der Maur, the group collaborates with the information and communication, intellectual property and competition departments.


One of the country’s leading commercial law firms, Walder Wyss provides a multidisciplinary service. The media and communications team acts for advertisers, PR agencies and press publishers on regulatory cases, data protection and pre-publication matters. Key practitioners include Didier Sangiorgio and Markus R. Frick who also advise on art and sports. Other focus areas include anti-trust and competition, data protection and intellectual property.


TIER 2

Bratschi has a strong reputation for its involvement in media cases nationally. Managed by Ivo Hungerbühler, the media, entertainment and sports practice advises on television, advertising and marketing. Lawyers also advise on intellectual property and art law.


id est avocats handles publicity rights, unfair competition and IP licensing matters across several industries including entertainment and online media. Founding partner Michel Jaccard acts for clients from entrepreneurs to global industry leaders. The Lausanne-based firm also represents clients from the advertising, technology and IT sectors.


Full-service firm Lenz & Staehelin is known for its transactional and regulatory work. The team acts for broadcasters, content providers and cinema operators. Work ranges from advice on day-to-day contracting and regulatory matters to licensing, advertising and sponsorship matters. Key practitioners include Miguel Oural and Marcel Meinhardt who work out of the firm’s Geneva and Zurich offices respectively.


Schellenberg Wittmer combines media, art and entertainment under one practice area. Zurich-based Georg von Segesser is an arbitrator of the Court of Arbitration for Sport and one of the firm’s intellectual property specialists. The practice is appointed by art institutions, collectors, artists, art dealers, sports organisations and entertainment businesses.


TIER 3

Focussed on media and sports, Kellerhals Attorneys at Law assists clients including national and international federations, athletes and sponsors. Lawyers negotiate and draft sponsoring and license agreements and handle all aspects involving broadcasting rights. The team also represents sports clients before the Court of Arbitration for Sport in disciplinary proceedings, cases involving player transfers and commercial transactions.


Nater Dallafior is well established in the legal market and recognised for its handling of media law cases. Acting for broadcasters, the team provides ongoing advice on regulatory matters to a privately owned local television station. Lawyers also negotiate agreements between broadcasters and programme providers, assist film producers on antitrust issues and provide advice on compliance and copyright matters. Andrea Etienne and Mathis Berger are the firm’s primary contacts for media-related work.


Thouvenin’s media work is driven by its intellectual property and technology division. In addition to contentious work, the team advises on commercial transactions such as licensing and joint ventures. Co-head of the practice group Patrick Rohn is an experienced litigator, handling domestic and international commercial cases. The firm also advises on distribution, licensing and competition.


Wenger Plattner’s art and entertainment focus makes it a popular choice among artists, art companies, sponsors, and cultural associations. The practice is known for its experience litigating before the courts in cases connected with musicals, theatre, visual arts, and literature. Founding partner Peter Mosimann works closely with Marc-André Renold advising public and private organisations.  


Zulauf Partners is well regarded by peers and highlighted for its visibility in cases involving media and communications. Lawyers act for clients in cases of libel, slander and privacy protection, on radio and television regulation and on advertising law. Founding partner Rena Zulauf specialises in broadcast law, new media, entertainment and advertising. The team also advises on copyright and data protection.  


TIER 4

Badertscher Attorneys at Law is well regarded by competitors for its work in the publishing sphere. The practice works with media companies operating, in Switzerland and internationally, on matters including libel, slander and unfair competition. Andreas Braun is the firm’s key contact for media-related work, which also includes advise on licensing of content, publishing rights and financial joint ventures.


MME specialises in gaming and live entertainment. The team, which includes Luka Mueller-Studer, Andreas Glarner and Balz Hösly, acts for online service providers, domestic casinos and foreign online gaming operators. Working with clients from the entertainment sector, lawyers advise ticketing companies, promoters, artists and venue managers.


TIER 5

BianchiSchwald works on cases involving privacy, media and technology. The firm’s core areas of focus include data protection, distribution, licensing and the transfer and protection of technology. Managing partner Manuel Bianchi della Porta has detailed knowledge of broadcast regulations and the broadcasting of sporting and cultural events. Other focus areas include corporate transactions.


The media team at Froriep works in collaboration with other practice groups including IT, intellectual property, corporate and commercial. Areas of expertise include television broadcasting rights and film production agreements, sponsorship, advertising and product placement. Key practitioner Nicola Benz has considerable experience advising on all types of commercial contracts, competition and regulatory issues.


Prager Dreifuss is driven by the firm’s IP and IT focus, which includes advice on sports rights. Ralph Butz and Gaudenz F. Domenig lead the team in its work on licensing of rights to films and sporting events, data protection, computer software and information technology. The firm is also appointed by domestic and international entrepreneurs in commercial and corporate matters.


Python lawyers have extensive knowledge of copyright and entertainment law. The team regularly advises on contracts and license agreements, advertising and privacy. Other areas of expertise include press and television advertising in cases involving representation before the Commission.

TIER 1

Bär & Karrer

Homburger

Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law

Vischer

Walder Wyss


TIER 2

Bratschi  

id est avocats

Lenz & Staehelin

Niederer Kraft & Frey

Schellenberg Wittmer


TIER 3

Kellerhals Carrard

Meyerlustenberger Lachenal

Nater Dallafior  

Thouvenin

Wenger Plattner

Zulauf Partners


TIER 4

Badertscher Attorneys at Law

CMS von Erlach Poncet

Lalive

MME Legal

Reichenbach Attorneys-at-Law

Wenger & Vieli


TIER 5

Altenburger

BianchiSchwald  

BMG Avocats

Froriep

Prager Dreifuss

Python


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