Advocate in International Contracts

In the overwhelmingly export-oriented Watchmaking Industry, Legal advice often has an international dimension that requires specific knowledge and the mastery of languages. The accent is, depending on the country, still more on prevention of specific risks such as Payment default or Trademark exposure: How can these risks be dealt with, and a minimum of control be maintained? Be it for the Drafting
of contracts or the Conduct of Litigation, this law firm has a large experience and a vast network of competence. The focus is on increasing the security of commercial transactions by limiting their legal and financial risks, and on facilitating, to the extent possible, litigation if it is inevitable.

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Services of an Advocate in international contracts

  • NDA, Cooperation, Joint Venture etc.) and its application in practice
  • NDA, coopération, Joint Venture etc.), et leur implantation
  • Proofreading of Contract proposals (e.g. American style Contracts), Re-negotiation
  • Focus on IP-protection, financial security and dispute resolution
  • International debt collection through a network of proven correspondents
  • Conduct of Arbitration and Mediation procedures (e.g. SWISS RULES, WIPO) in English, French, and German

What are the 3 key elements in international Contracts?

  • Efficiency before perfection: if it is impossible to eliminate all risks, it is possible to reduce them by relatively simple means
  • Arbitration, if well chosen, is an efficient tool for international dispute resolution, even for a Startup. Ill chosen its costs may be prohibitive
  • In negotiating agreements always try to keep the upper hand on drafting.
    If this is not possible (e.g. in the context of American-style agreements), carefully avoid signing a proposed text which has not undergone itemized proofreading or re-negotiation.

Before starting any commercial activity:

  • Make sure with your IP Agent that the Mark is protected within the territory ; idem
    Patents and Designs
  • Audit the Distributor you plan to work with (its financial situation, IP-aspects, third party experience, through Infosuisse-Inquiry or similar)
  • Conclure un contrat de distribution, avec certaines clauses de protection, en cas de mauvaise performance, défaut de paiement, usurpation etc., ainsi qu’une clause de résolution de litiges
  • Avoid informality, which can be extremely harmful, such as independent Certificates « To Whom it may concern » etc.

Agents as well as Distributors represent a Mark in a given Territory, with or without exclusivity.

Typically the Agent, acting on behalf of the Brandowner (the Principal), takes orders from Retailers carrying the brand, against retribution (commission on sales, disbursements). The Distributor buys the merchandise from the Brandowner
for re-distribution within its network of retailers, realizing a commercial margin.

Further, the Distributor assumes certain obligations in relation to sales, such as After Sale Service or Advertising according to the brand directives.
. In certain countries, the Agent is protected by compulsory Law (contract duration, termination, indemnity) which has to be taken into account within the contract. The Distribution Agreement may be subject to vertical restraints ensuing from local competition law, limiting the Brandowner’s possibility to fix retail prices or to partition the different markets. For these reasons, the contracts must be adjusted to the specifics of each single case.

A Dispute Resolution form whereas a private tribunal, made up of one or more arbitrators, settles a dispute brought before it through a binding and enforceable decision. A distinction is made between ad hoc Arbitration, convened by parties after the dispute arises (rather an exception), and conventional Arbitration based on an Arbitration clause, routinely integrated in a commercial Agreement such as Distribution, Agency, Joint Venture or else. Parties may in both cases chose the Arbitrator and fix the procedure at their guise, but in he majority of cases the Arbitration Clause directly refers to Rules which deal with these questions
(….Arbitration according to WIPO Rules, or SWISS RULES etc.). The seat of Arbitration, fixed in the Clause, defines certain procedural issues by reference to compulsory local legislation. The Upside of Arbitration as opposed to a normal court procedure is confidentiality and speediness, especially in case of simplified of expedited Arbitration. Further, the arbitral award is
so to say universally enforceable. On the other hand, arbitration may be costly, and it is paramount to consult prior to signing an Agreement with an Arbitration Clause.
This Law firm provides assistance in all these questions, as well as for the conduct of Arbitration procedures in French, German and English.

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Make an appointment


032 911 22 88


Working hours

From Monday to Friday


Rue du Concert 2, 2000 Neuchâtel