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The Swiss Federal Supreme Court Grants Compensation for Clientele Upon Termination of Distribution Agreements

December 2008

In a recent landmark decision, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court ruled that, under certain circumstances, exclusive distributors have a mandatory compensation claim for clientele upon termination of the distribution agreement (ATF 134 III 497). This decision is of considerable practical relevance and marks a change in the Federal Supreme Court’s practice, since so far the Federal Supreme Court had refused, as a rule, to apply by analogy the agent’s mandatory claim for clientele compensation to distribution agreements. The new Federal Supreme Court’s decision is also applicable to existing distribution agreements.

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