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Specialist Guide to the

Global Leaders in Media Law Practice

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SWITZERLAND

Lawyers say the global threat to freedom of expression is no less marked in Switzerland as pressure mounts owing to fundamental structural changes resulting from worldwide digitalisation.  


In August last year, fake news claims developed as the Swiss embassy in China urged the media to remove articles, quoted in Chinese state media, containing false news regarding the origins of Covid-19.


"While we appreciate the attention on our country, the Embassy of Switzerland must unfortunately inform the Chinese public that this news is false," the Swiss embassy stated in a posted on Twitter.


Lawyers say the past year has included a myriad of cases, from clients in sports and audiovisual media to news agencies and influencers. Legal teams have advised on copyright law, e-commerce, and data protection on a European level, as well as international clients on all issues relating to digital business models.

Data privacy has also been a topical area over the past year after revision of the Federal Act on Data Protection was finalised in October 2021, and expected to enter into force in June 2022.


In other developments, Swisscom launched a free VoD service in October last year, offering thousands of series, films and children’s programmes.


We are at the dawn of a new era for television,” announced Dirk Wierzbitzki, Head of Residential Customers and Member of the Swisscom Group Executive Board. Mr Wierzbitzki added: “It’s an app revolution for television. Today’s customers don’t want to wait or limit their choice: they want it all, whenever and wherever they choose. And without an expiry date.”

TIER 1

Bär & Karrer works extensively with operators of satellite and cable television services on regulatory and contractual issues. The highly regarded practice focusses on media and sports law, and is appointed by publishers, composers, musicians, authors, and other artists. 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. The media 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 for the firm 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.” The IP and TMT group frequently advises on cases relating to 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. 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. Lawyers also advise on art and sports law. 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. The media team also advises on entertainment and sports law, with an emphasis 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. The team acts for clients from entrepreneurs to global industry leaders. The Lausanne-based firm also represents a range of 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. Lawyers at the firm work collaboratively out of the firm’s Geneva and Zurich offices respectively.


Schellenberg Wittmer combines media, art and entertainment under one practice area. The Zurich-based firm is recognised for its industry expertise and highlighted by peers for its work on sports and intellectual property. The firm 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 nationally. Acting for broadcasters, the media 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.  


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.  


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. The team 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. The firm is appointed for media-related work, including advise on licensing of content, publishing rights and financial joint ventures.


MME specialises in gaming and live entertainment. The team 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. Lawyers at the firm are highlighted for thier 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. The team 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. The media 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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