Competition Law in Switzerland

Competition Law in Switzerland

Updated on Monday 07th December 2015

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Competition-Law-in-SwitzerlandLegislation related to competition in Switzerland

Switzerland has enabled its first legislation on competition in 1986. The initial Federal Law on Unfair Competition covered the competition in matters related to intellectual property. Later on, when the Cartel Law was introduced, the protection against unfair competition has engulfed the practices undertaken by companies selling products or providing services on the Swiss market.

At last, in 2009 Switzerland introduced the Antitrust Law which is based on the European laws on competition in order to provide a safe and familiar environment to companies involved in merger and acquisition transactions. The Swiss Competition Law was last amended in 2012.

The provisions of the Competition Law in Switzerland

The main purpose of the Swiss law on competition is to ensure that market participants benefit from healthy regulations that prevent harmful effects or impede competition. The legislation on competition is based on:

  • -          control of the contracts that could stop competition between companies,
  • -          control of companies that could take advantage of a dominant position,
  • -          control of concentration of companies.

The control of contracts is based on the verification of horizontal and vertical agreements concluded by market participants. Our Swiss attorneys can explain how this control is executed. All contracts fall under the supervision of the Swiss Federal Competition Commission.

Dominant position under the Swiss Competition Law

The Competition Law in Switzerland establishes that a company is on a dominant position if they control a large part of the market. Dominant companies are in the position where they can establish prices in the detriment of other participants to the market. The law against unfair competition sets out that Swiss companies are not allowed to take advantage of such situation as this could destabilize the market.

Concentration of companies under the Swiss law on competition

The concentration of companies refers to mergers and acquisitions which fall under the Cartel Law in Switzerland. The legislation establishes that mergers of large companies must be announced with the Competition Commission. The same principle applies to the acquisition of an independent company by a multinational enterprise.

For information related to the notification thresholds in case of concentration you can contact our Swiss law firm.