Local practitioners are increasingly being called on to guide international brands through the rigours and ambiguities of the country’s 2017 ‘Swissness’ legislation. The implications of the new rules are not yet clear and trademark professionals are waiting to see how the laws will be enforced in coming years. Another talking point is the recent introduction of a non-use cancellation action at the Swiss Institute of Intellectual Property – a procedure which provides a much-needed alternative to protracted and costly judicial actions. Switzerland’s IP services market – which is historically very stable – has also seen a number of realignments of late: Staiger Schwald & Partner has joined forces with BCCC LLC to form BianchiSchwald, which debuts in the WTR 1000 this year; gold-tiered litigator Roger Staub has moved to pre-eminent practice Walder Wyss; and commercial law outfit FRORIEP Legal SA has established a cooperative arrangement with niche firm Rentsch Partner.

Firms: enforcement and litigation

Firms: prosecution and strategy

Baker McKenzie

The only global law firm with a major presence on the Swiss trademark market, Baker McKenzie attracts a torrent of instructions from blue-chip brands with multi-jurisdictional interests. Drawing on cutting-edge support systems for prosecution and customs monitoring, IP specialists Michael Treis and Eva-Maria Strobel – who are both admitted to the bar in Germany as well as Switzerland – handle hefty cross-border instructions with dexterity. “Doyen” Treis provides inspired leadership. “He is very seasoned and really knows his stuff. His response time is quick and he cooperates well with clients. He is thorough, rigorous and conscientious. Michael doesn’t sit on the fence, but takes a position and tells you how likely a course of action is to succeed.” Treis has recently been demonstrating these qualities while fighting British American Tobacco’s corner in a dispute with Philip Morris over innovative e-cigarette technology. A big hit with jewellery brands, Strobel has shown her adroitness since taking stewardship of Swarovski’s global portfolio of more than 7,000 marks, implementing filing and enforcement strategies with great skill. On the contentious side, she won a vital administrative appeal for The Body Shop in its attempt to establish the likelihood of confusion between its brand and The Face Shop. Strobel “has a strong client-orientation and a clear understanding of complex customer needs”.

Bär & Karrer

Putting its expansive business law expertise to superb use, Bär & Karrer is “an excellent choice for brand-rich transactions” and shows commercial flair across the full suite of trademark services. The IP team is helmed by Markus Wang, an all-rounder whose insightful advice reflects a 360-degree understanding of intangible assets. An academic whizz who lectures at the University of Fribourg, he also demonstrates impressive real-world know-how and has nuanced industry knowledge, especially in the life sciences and IT sectors.

BianchiSchwald LLC

Formed following the merger of Staiger, Schwald & Partner and BCCC LLC, BianchiSchwald enters the WTR 1000’s silver tier following enthusiastic recommendations from peers and clients. Its IP department offers a complete brand protection service, shining brightest in complex litigation. This is due in no small part to the efforts of lynchpin Christoph Gasser, a “complete IP lawyer” praised for the breadth and depth of his knowledge, as well as his first-rate professionalism. “His work is extraordinary: he is one of the most intelligent, meticulous and precise lawyers anywhere – nothing goes unnoticed; he is also the fastest practitioner you will ever meet – Christoph is available at almost any time, and always responds within hours. His insights are unparalleled, his advice thoughtful and clear cut: you can have 100% trust in his guidance.” A former in-house lawyer at Swatch, Gasser has an acute sense of business priorities. “He is like one of our internal counsel”, comments one client. The elite litigator was victorious in a landmark Federal Supreme Court decision defending Navita Schweiz against allegations that it acted as an agent in the registration of particular trademarks. Of late he has also prevailed in two oppositions for Forbes Lux International against Forbes LLC.

BMG Avocats

Accomplished full-service firm BMG Avocats excels at the area of law where intellectual property intersects with commercial matters. IP-driven licensing and distribution agreements are the jewel in the crown of its A to Z offering, while its trademark group combines broad-ranging corporate law expertise with an attentive and flexible boutique-like approach. Embodying these qualities, time-served professional and practice leader Sylvie Gurry-Veit knows how best to commercialise intangible assets. “She is a trustworthy and results-oriented trademark attorney, with brilliant international know-how. Sylvie listens carefully to clients and reacts promptly, suggesting practical solutions to problems.” Working closely with the Legal Commission of the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, she is “one of the country’s best lawyers in the luxury goods sector”. Her colleague Anne-Virginie La Spada also skilfully extracts value from trademarks and dazzles in dispute resolution – whether in the courts, IP offices or arbitration forums. Ancillary expertise in IT, corporate and competition law play to her advantage, too.

E Blum & Co AG

Prosecution shop E Blum & Co “is the very best trademark agency in Switzerland”. According to one prestigious peer: “It administers large portfolios with poise, drawing on its impressive institutional wisdom and well-oiled support systems, which ensure efficiency and consistent quality. The team doesn’t overcomplicate matters; it works quickly and dispenses clear advice.” Among its talented attorneys is Mathias Meyer, whose knowledge of brand rights – and the best ways to get them granted – is second to none. The quadrilingual adviser “has superb judgement and can be depended on in the trickiest situations”. His colleague Brendan Bolli also impresses fellow professionals. “He is an extraordinary person. Extremely intelligent, you can discuss cases with him at the deepest level. His guidance is always on-point.” Flanking them, Sven Capol adds further strength and depth; he is “a dexterous prosecutor, has worked on many different matters and is easy to work with.”

FMP Fuhrer Marbach & Partners

Powerhouse boutique FMP Fuhrer Marbach & Partners exhibits impressive prowess on both sides of the contentious/non-contentious divide. It boasts three of the country’s pre-eminent IP-focused partners – each supported by a team of crack associates – who provide tailor-made solutions to convoluted branding conundrums. Veteran trademark specialist Eugen Marbach is “excellent in theory and practice. He can deal with any eventuality and has profound legal knowledge”. “Passionate, diligent and very hands-on”, fellow maestro Bernard Volken dispatches myriad soft IP briefs with flair. The former chief of oppositions at the Institute of Intellectual Property knows how to overcome the most hazardous obstacles to trademark protection. “A formidable fighter in litigation battles, he thinks quickly on his feet in the courtroom” and is also a composed mediator in settlement negotiations. His contemporaries regard him as a “legal encyclopaedia who has a great presence and goes the extra mile for his clients”. The final figure in this triumvirate is Peter Widmer, an “adept operator in infringement suits. He strikes the right balance between the practical and the academic, and is great to collaborate with”.


“Exceedingly commercial and modern in its attitude”, FRORIEP continues to impress clients – especially in the luxury goods and financial services sectors – with its soup-to-nuts trademark offering. Offices in Zurich, Geneva and Zug ensure a flawless interface with rights holders in every corner of the country; while outposts in London and Madrid provide the side with valuable international reach. In 2017, FRORIEP’s strength was bolstered by a collaborative agreement with Rentsch Partner – a set also featured in the WTR 1000. The “inspiring and capable leadership” of Nicola Benz, who took charge following the departure of Roger Staub in late 2016, has not gone unnoticed. The superb prosecution strategist “is great for any type of work before the registry. She is practical, responsive and creative and has fine-grained knowledge of both IP and IT law”. Benz is also a leading transactional lawyer who knows all the intricacies and nuances involved in brand-heavy licensing agreements.

Homburger AG

One of the country’s largest corporate firms, Homburger is a heavyweight player in Swiss intellectual property, among other areas of law. Clients frequently call on it to unpick their most perplexing branding disputes and also make use of its business acuity in IP commercialisation matters. Gregor Bühler is the “standout figure”, not only a “straight shooting litigator”, he is a nimble performer in arbitration proceedings. “He is one of those lawyers who makes things happen through hard work and determination. His humour and intelligence makes him a great partner too.” Supplementary knowledge in competition, marketing and advertising law mean that he is also an invaluable ally in cross-disciplinary spats. Captaining the practice, Georg Rauber optimises outcomes astutely steering IP-driven transactions. The cultivated negotiator employs the wisdom he has acquired during almost three decades’ practice with verve.

Isler & Pedrazzini AG

Best known for its polished prosecution offering, Isler & Pedrazzini helps domestic companies to build fortress-like trademark protections around their brands, in Switzerland and all over the world. Michael Degkwitz provides robust leadership. A perceptive strategist, he knows which marks will serve patrons’ business objectives – and how to get them granted quickly and efficiently. His colleague Corsin Blumenthal is a salient expert in anti-counterfeiting and brandishes a unique understanding of Chinese enforcement issues.

Junod Muhlstein Lévy & Puder

A force to be reckoned with across the trademark board, the “excellent” Junod Muhlstein Lévy & Puder has every angle covered for brand owners. Attentive case handling, refined strategic instincts and impeccable legal understanding are the hallmarks of its trade. Its “refined IP practitioners”, father and son Michel Muhlstein and Laurent Muhlstein, possess “granular subject knowledge and great language skills”. Veteran campaigner Muhlstein senior serves up insightful, commercially flavoured counsel; while rising star Muhlstein junior possesses wisdom beyond his years and is “an extraordinary communicator who is very convincing in the courtroom”.

Lenz & Staehelin

Well-established commercial law outfit Lenz & Staehelin has had a focus on intellectual property for more than a century. Working ably across the full gamut of branding services – it functions as a one-stop shop for many global companies – the firm has a particularly glittering reputation in contentious mandates. “Simply one of the best in Switzerland”, Jürg Simon “makes the difference in close-fought battles. He is a sharp thinker and very articulate, but also business-like – a doer and decision maker, rather than simply an adviser”. The “robust litigator” is also the country’s foremost geographical indications sage – which is a huge boon for clients; especially since the recent introduction of the new ‘Swissness’ legislation. Fellow hotshot Lara Dorigo is a safe pair of hands with absolutely any IP instruction; above all she is a distinguished anti-counterfeiting expert and advocate before the courts and arbitration panels: “Tough but fair, she is brilliant in disputes – analytical, concise and diligent.” Another enforcement ace, Thierry Calame is “cool-headed when it matters most and has far-reaching knowledge of case law, linked to a strategic sense of how to handle heated matters”.

Meyerlustenberger Lachenal Ltd 

Famed for its cosmopolitan outlook and seamless cross-border work, Meyerlustenberger Lachenal is a go-to firm for Fortune 500 enterprises. Home to many of Switzerland’s pre-eminent experts, its 15-strong IP department is a close-knit team which executes instructions across the trademark spectrum. Multi-jurisdictional conflicts are handled with panache and the group has a particular gift for getting non-conventional marks granted in the face of stiff opposition. They recently succeeded in having 3D trademarks approved for Vitra by the EU Intellectual Property Office and subsequently defended one of them in cancellation proceedings. “One of the most active and renowned branding lawyers in Switzerland”, Michael Ritscher is an accomplished litigator and arbitrator and a compelling option for the toughest disputes. “He has both granular academic knowledge and an excellent feel for ‘big picture’ strategy. His experience is unsurpassed and he is prepared for any scenario. Very client-focused, he is responsive and a pleasure to deal with.” The illustrious professional is the current president of Institute for Industrial Property and also serves as a commercial court judge in the Canton of Zurich. “Fast-working and highly knowledgeable”, Peter Schramm co-heads the team. Admitted to the bar in Germany as well as in Switzerland, he is adroit in cross-border matters. Considered by clients to be “one of the best design and trademark specialists in the country”, the dexterous courtroom sparrer also works assiduously to get fakes removed from the market. Another global enforcement buff, and co-captain of the side, Guillaume Fournier makes his debut in the WTR 1000 for 2018. He is especially popular with French-speaking patrons. Simon Holzer is a multi-talented lawyer, whose cutting-edge expertise in geographical indications underpins the firm’s flourishing practice in matters relating to questions of Swiss origin.

Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law Ltd

Working hand-in-hand with colleagues in its commercial law department, Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law sees intangible assets with a panoramic perspective. Offering the full range of trademark services, it is especially proficient in transactions and courtroom spats; with a specialist arbitration team, it also outclasses rivals in alternative dispute resolution. Chief of the department, “brilliant litigator” Lorenza Ferrari Hofer upholds clients’ rights with alacrity. The former in-house counsel dishes up commercially aware counsel; a firm understanding of competition law and life sciences regulations are further weapons in her arsenal. Michèle Burnier brings a sure touch to thorny disputes and repeatedly finds constructive licensing solutions. “An excellent lawyer, she is very knowledgeable about current trends.” Her colleague Thomas Legler supplies additional firepower. He is an assured advocate and experienced Swiss and World Intellectual Property Organisation arbitrator.

Rentsch Partner Ltd 

The “top quality advisers and litigators” at the dynamic Rentsch Partner “work efficiently and strategically to build impervious global trademark protections. They really understand clients’ brands and how they can be monetised”. The Rentsch squad of 24 attorneys – one of the largest of Switzerland’s specialised firms – remains poised when working on the most substantial prosecution and enforcement campaigns and has advised on matters in over 80 jurisdictions. It has an Asia desk with native Japanese, Chinese and Korean speakers, as well as a US litigation desk, making it immensely attractive to clients with international horizons. The “wonderful” Gregor Wild is a standout figure. “He has great spirit, stunning IP knowledge and is excellent in theory and practice”, enthuses one peer. Another states: “He is a fantastic counsellor – I really appreciate the open and honest discussions I have with him.” Adjacent aptitude in competition, design and copyright law stands him in good stead. Media and soft IP master Matthias Städeli splits his time between contentious and non-contentious matters. As one respondent reports: “He is very innovative, develops effective litigation strategies and makes persuasive arguments, his experience is valuable and he is a tough but fair negotiator too.” Another nimble courtroom operator Christian Hilti is a company names and unregistered signs aficionado. Rounding off the team, Demian Stauber is steady-handed in arbitration and transactions.

Schellenberg Wittmer

Intellectual property is a pillar of the practice at commercial law stalwart Schellenberg Wittmer. Dispensing judicious advice on all branding questions, it reigns supreme in judicial and administrative conflicts; mediation and arbitration – especially in the context of licensing or distribution disputes – are also strong suits. Philipp Groz – a former judge – acquits himself well in infringement wrangles. A board member of the Swiss Licensing Executives Society, he is a man to have by your side when sealing the deal in IP-rich transactions: he recently counselled an eminent brewery on several trademark licensing agreements.

Swissberg Ltd 

Reliable, efficient and personalised, Swissberg’s all-embracing trademark practice strikes the right note with peers and brand owners alike; the firm won the 2015 Client Choice Award for Swiss soft intellectual property and has been doing great things ever since. One foreign associate comments: “It is great across the board. Its professionals are highly responsive and give to-the-point advice.” Defending brands at every stage in their development, it supplies unfailingly joined-up guidance. Founding partner and holistic counsellor Christian Rohner goes the extra mile to uphold his patrons’ brand rights. A courtroom virtuoso, he also knows how to overcome objections at the Swiss IP Office and ensure that marks are granted. The other pillar of the practice is Michael Widmer, an enforcement and transactions maven, who is well-versed in media and IT law as well.

TIMES Attorneys

Top-class boutique TIMES Attorneys has made a big impact on the Swiss trademark landscape since its establishment in 2015: excellent across the brand rights lifecycle, it ascends to the gold tier for litigation and enforcement this year following effusive market feedback. Its compact team of four partners and four associates has “a fresh and different approach – less formalistic, but flexible, efficient and focused on client needs”; supported by up-to-date infrastructure, it makes light work of the most demanding briefs. Distinguished litigator and arbitrator Michael Noth is the driving force behind the set’s success. “Very energetic and passionate, he is business minded and has great social skills – you want to do business with him! He has the right combination of academic and practical abilities. A constant focus on results is his best asset: he knows how to de-escalate disputes and reach settlements.” A thorough understanding of sports, media and IT law, as well as pharmaceuticals regulations, sets Noth apart when it comes to multifaceted IP disputes. Highly praised litigator Andrea Mondini recently joined from Schellenberg Wittmer. He takes a resolutely practical approach to his briefs – a style which has attracted a slew of prestigious clients. The native Italian speaker is especially popular with luxury fashion houses. Flanking him, Philippe Gilliéron has a “brilliant legal mind” and dispenses illuminating advice on all branding concerns. The Lausanne-based practitioner is highly sought-after among French-speaking companies. TIMES Attorneys’ rising star Markus Kaiser is a former in-house counsel who provides commercially attuned guidance; he has a strong grounding in the arts and entertainment industries.

Troller Hitz Troller

Well-established IP shop Troller Hitz Troller has been executing assuredly on tricky contentious and non-contentious mandates since 1941. Its current team boasts a number of time-served trademark pros who come emphatically recommended for their razor-sharp understanding of intellectual assets and their industrious case-handling abilities. Dynamic professional Gallus Joller “is diligent and takes care of each matter proactively, making the client feel completely protected. He is a smart, concise thinker – exceedingly logical and well-educated”. Joller has a microscopic knowledge of key branding issues: his PhD thesis concerned risk of confusion and he has authored chapters on subjects such as relative grounds for refusal, well-known trademarks and coexistence agreements. One of the most revered soft IP attorneys in the country, his colleague Patrick Troller is a cultivated courtroom performer who “wins cases that others would lose”. Luminary Martin Hitz remains a font of wisdom at the firm.

Walder Wyss

Top-tier practice Walder Wyss was boosted last year with the arrival of Roger Staub, an “alpha lawyer” who brings additional quality to the firm’s star-studded IP bench. “Roger is excellent – a compelling advocate, tough negotiator and wonderful prosecutor. His acquisition is crucial for the firm – and the market in general. He has an enviable skill set, and a good network.” Staub has been representing Merck KGaA in a widely publicised battle with Merck & Co. He also maps out August Storck’s Swiss prosecution strategy and lately won a landmark decision before the Federal Supreme Court confirming the validity of its sound mark. Staub joins a department with a stellar reputation in all facets of trademark law – especially contentious matters. Markus Frick became team captain in 2017. A “go-to litigator”, he is also a perceptive strategist and silky negotiator, who has a talent for bringing conflicts to an end out of court. He serves as vice chair of the Association of European Trademark Owners’ dispute resolution team. Former practice manager Magda Streuli-Youssef is an authority on IP and competition law. “She is strong, charismatic and passionate about what she does. Her intellect is formidable and she has honed business instincts.”


“Professional, friendly and a trusted partner”, WEINMANN ZIMMERLI files trademarks and moulds portfolio strategy for a slew of blue-chips; in recent years it has also seen a healthy upswing in its contentious and transactional practice. “Excellent prosecutor” Madeleine Schim van der Loeff co-leads the branding team; her tactical insights ensure that clients can build airtight trademark protections. The other practice group chief is Conrad Weinmann, a 20-year veteran who also spearheads the firm’s litigation group. His theoretical knowledge of intellectual property is unsurpassed. Junior partner Alban Shabani makes his debut in the WTR 1000 this year. The widely commended lawyer tackles heated disputes with rigour.

Wild Schnyder AG

With a cohesive team of IP-devoted practitioners, specialist outfit Wild Schnyder is a veritable hub of trademark expertise. For many years a foremost prosecution practice, it has also made huge strides in dispute management and licensing since Gabriela Taugwalder and Barbara Müeler joined in 2013 and 2014 respectively. The duo – both previously partners at corporate law firms – see intangible assets with a bird’s-eye view and know how to maximise their value. Taugwalder “is excellent – smart, precise and responsive”, while Mueller is “tried and tested in the most complex international matters”. Name partner Donald Schnyder has developed his IP understanding during decades of service. He shines brightly in administrative and judicial proceedings. Social media and publishing are happy hunting grounds for him and the team generally, which is well versed in domain names and internet law issues.

Other recommended experts

Courtroom virtuoso François Besse is a key port of call when contentious circumstances arise. Au fait with both Swiss and EU law, he can be found at BesseLegal. The “excellent” Ivan Cherpillod of Bourgeois Avocats is “one of the most experienced IP lawyers. A formidable opponent, he is both practical and professorial. He will also strive for a settlement whenever it is beneficial for his clients.” According to one peer, Lorenz Ehrler is “excellent – my absolute first choice for referrals among French-speaking practitioners”. The tenacious anti-counterfeiting expert plies his trade at Bugnion Ballansat Ehrler. With extensive experience handling unwieldy portfolios, Robert Flury is also a dab hand in litigation. The Zulauf Partners lawyer is especially popular with those in the cosmetics and pharmaceuticals industries. Having recently made the move from Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law, Clara-Ann Gordon can now be found at Niederer Kraft & Frey. As one peer extols: “Gordon is superb”, “her arrival is a huge boost for the firm. She is very hands-on and she has excellent English language skills”. The transactions and strategy doyenne has fine-grained knowledge of both IT and IP law. Serving up comprehensive trademark counsel, Felix Locher of Python defends a number of EU and US brands in Switzerland. Ralph Schlosser of Kasser Schlosser Avocats is “detailed in his work, very thorough and academically sound. He is very persuasive in the courtroom.” Working nimbly across all aspects of IP law, Meisser & Partners’ Benedikt Schmidt manages EU and Swiss trademarks with composure. “He is reactive, thoughtful, results-oriented and efficient. His sound and honest advice can be relied upon. His success is outstanding, especially in opposition matters.” French-speaking trademark authority Frédéric Serra acquits himself incredibly well in thorny disputes. “He is prompt and thorough in his work. He grasps the most complex matters and explains them in simple language. His advice is invariably sensible and pragmatic.” Having recently moved from FRORIEP, he can now be found at LBM Avocats & Associés.

Individuals: enforcement and litigation

Individuals: French region

Individuals: prosecution and strategy


  • Lucas M David - Walder Wyss
  • Martin F Hitz - Troller Hitz Troller