On December 15 2011 the Competition Commission announced that it had fined the Swiss subsidiary of Japanese camera company Nikon Sfr12.5 million for restricting parallel imports of its Nikon Imaging products. Following a complaint, the commission gathered evidence of Nikon restricting parallel imports into Switzerland. On March 24 2010 the commission launched a regular investigation through a dawn raid at Nikon's offices. It concluded that Nikon had illegally foreclosed the Swiss market by inserting clauses in foreign distribution contracts to restrict exports to Switzerland and, conversely, by inserting similar clauses in Swiss distribution contracts to restrict supply abroad. In addition, evidence was found that Nikon exerted pressure on parallel distributors. The commission's investigation revealed that between Spring 2008 and Autumn 2009 Nikon's conduct resulted in higher prices for consumers.
The export and import prohibitions imposed on distributors of the Nikon Imaging products and the actions taken in order to hinder parallel distributors from importing such products into Switzerland did not eliminate competition, but nevertheless appreciably restricted competition in the relevant product markets. Thus, the commission fined Nikon Sfr12.5 million for the ban on parallel imports based on the turnover that Nikon achieved in Switzerland, and taking into account the duration and gravity of the infringement.
For further information on this topic please contact Pascal Favre or Silvio Venturi at Tavernier Tschanz by telephone (+41 22 704 3700), fax (+41 22 704 3777) or email ([email protected] or [email protected]).