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Consumer Products

As a player in the consumer products sector, you face a myriad of challenges such as globalisation and digitalisation, environmental and health concerns, supply chain management, consumer and media pressure, growing retailer buyer power, the rise of online selling and counterfeiting. All place new demands on your management and business strategy but also drive the need for legal advice. Our pan-European team is structured around the key sectors of consumer products including cosmetics, clothing, electronics, health & beauty, food & drink, retail, household equipment and manufacturing. Whether you are a supplier, investor, regulator or other stakeholder, we have consumer products experts to help, whatever your situation.

In order to give you the targeted legal advice your business needs, our teams have experts from every legal area affecting your sector. This means we can guide you on all legal and regulatory aspects − from the financing and acquisition of companies, through to antitrust and unfair competition law, media management, nutritional and health claims, advertising and marketing, strategies for the protection of intellectual property rights, data protection, outsourcing, distribution agreements, real estate transactions, product recalls and much more. Our experts will keep you abreast of the latest sector insight and developments, giving you a commercial, as well as a legal, edge.

20/08/2015
CMS Con­sumer Products Group
Our Con­sumer Products Sec­tor Group The Con­sumer Products sec­tor is a fiercely com­pet­it­ive mar­ket. From all as­pects of the sup­ply chain, or­gan­isa­tions are un­der pres­sure to im­prove yield, cut costs and...

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08/09/2022
Can­nabis law and le­gis­la­tion in Switzer­land
Med­ic­al use Grow­ing, selling and im­port­ing can­nabis for med­ic­al use is al­lowed.However, there is a dis­tinc­tion between can­nabis con­tain­ing at least 1% THC and oth­er can­nabis. Fur­ther­more, un­like THC...
01/06/2022
CMS Next
What’s next? In a world of ever-ac­cel­er­at­ing change, stay­ing ahead of the curve and know­ing what’s next for your busi­ness or sec­tor is es­sen­tial.At CMS, we see ourselves not only as your leg­al ad­visers but also as your busi­ness part­ners. We work to­geth­er with you to not only re­solve cur­rent is­sues but to an­ti­cip­ate fu­ture chal­lenges and in­nov­ate to meet them.With our latest pub­lic­a­tion, CMS Next, our ex­perts will reg­u­larly of­fer you in­sights in­to and fresh per­spect­ives on a range of is­sues that busi­nesses have to deal with – from ESG agen­das to re­struc­tur­ing after the pan­dem­ic or fa­cing the di­git­al trans­form­a­tion. We will also share with you more about the work that we are do­ing for our cli­ents, help­ing them in­nov­ate, grow and mit­ig­ate risk.To be able to provide you with the best sup­port, we im­merse ourselves in your world to un­der­stand your leg­al needs and chal­lenges. However, it is equally im­port­ant that you know who we are and how we can work with you. So, we in­vite you to meet our ex­perts and catch a glimpse of what is hap­pen­ing in­side CMS.En­joy read­ing this pub­lic­a­tion, which we will up­date reg­u­larly with new con­tent.CMS Ex­ec­ut­ive Team
12/05/2022
10 key as­pects of the re­vised EU com­pet­i­tion law in the field of dis­tri­bu­tion...
The new Ver­tic­al Block Ex­emp­tion Reg­u­la­tion (VBER) and the new ac­com­pa­ny­ing Ver­tic­al Guidelines (VGL) were pub­lished on 10 May 2022. The new VBER will enter in­to force on 1 June 2022 and ap­ply for the...
10/01/2022
Tech­no­logy: a uni­fy­ing force
Com­pan­ies of­ten talk about the scourge of the silo, the farm­ing stor­age meta­phor that has come to rep­res­ent teams or de­part­ments that op­er­ate on their own. However, with tech­no­logy trans­form­ing vir­tu­ally every in­dustry on the plan­et, col­lab­or­a­tion across sec­tors has be­come es­sen­tial. Ad­di­tion­ally, the COV­ID-19 crisis has high­lighted the cru­cial role tech­no­logy, spe­cific­ally con­nectiv­ity, plays as the back­bone of our busi­ness world across all sec­tors, and once COV­ID-19 is brought un­der con­trol or even erad­ic­ated, it will prove es­sen­tial for so­cial and eco­nom­ic prosper­ity. For­ging links in di­git­al in­fra­struc­ture pro­jects Jonath­an Dames, a part­ner at CMS in Lon­don, says that his team’s prac­tice tra­di­tion­ally centred on so­cial and eco­nom­ic in­fra­struc­ture and en­ergy fin­ance, but is in­creas­ingly shift­ing to­wards di­git­al in­fra­struc­ture pro­jects, in­clud­ing fibre net­works and data centres.He says that these kinds of pro­jects re­quire close col­lab­or­a­tion between tra­di­tion­al pro­jects and pro­ject fin­ance law­yers and their col­leagues in Tech­no­logy, Me­dia & Com­mu­nic­a­tions (TMC), “We al­ways had cros­sov­er, and en­joyed great col­lab­or­a­tion with both the In­fra­struc­ture & Pro­jects and En­ergy Sec­tor Groups, for ex­ample, but now we are work­ing with the TMC Sec­tor Group much more closely be­cause we are fa­cing reg­u­lat­ory is­sues and re­gimes that we have nev­er faced be­fore such as Code Powers, the re­quire­ments of the Com­mu­nic­a­tions Act and re­lated le­gis­la­tion.“CMS has ex­tens­ive in­fra­struc­ture, en­ergy and tele­coms ex­pert­ise and is able to bring it all to­geth­er to cre­ate the skill set re­quired to de­liv­er long-term pro­ject fin­an­cing to tech­no­logy-based in­fra­struc­ture pro­jects.”Ad­di­tion­ally, the fund­ing of di­git­al in­fra­struc­ture pro­jects, such as the 10,000km El­laLink sub­sea cable between Brazil and Por­tugal, de­mands more com­plic­ated fin­an­cing struc­tures to cov­er the re­lated risks and cre­ate the op­tim­al cap­it­al stack to get the best all-in pri­cing. This has in­volved us­ing mezzan­ine fin­ance and vendor fin­an­cing for con­struc­tion, with a view to at­tract­ing cheap­er op­er­a­tion­al peri­od fin­an­cing in the me­di­um term. A sub­sea cable, cross­ing in­ter­na­tion­al wa­ters and land­ing in mul­tiple leg­al jur­is­dic­tions, is not, un­der­stand­ably, ex­posed to the same po­ten­tial threats and per­ils as a hos­pit­al or a con­ven­tion­al power sta­tion or a wind farm on a single site. So, not all the usu­al rules, mar­ket norms, leg­al con­structs and stand­ard mit­ig­ants ne­ces­sar­ily fit for a fin­an­cing of this type of as­set. Rise of the ma­chines The CMS In­tel­lec­tu­al Prop­erty (IP) Group has un­sur­pris­ingly been at the fore­front of tech­no­lo­gic­al in­nov­a­tion, sup­port­ing cli­ents in the iden­ti­fic­a­tion, pro­tec­tion and com­mer­cial­isa­tion of their IP as­sets. Tom Scourfield, Co-Head of the group, is based in Lon­don and Warsaw, two cit­ies well-known for their tech­no­logy in­cub­a­tion. He ob­serves, “We are not only see­ing an in­crease in the use of tech­no­logy in col­lab­or­a­tion, but much more fre­quently, col­lab­or­a­tion with tech­no­logy it­self.”Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence (AI) is a grow­ing area of fo­cus. Pat­ent ap­plic­a­tions for AI tech­no­lo­gies have in­creased by 170,000 since 2013, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent re­port by the World In­tel­lec­tu­al Prop­erty Of­fice (WIPO). In the field of AI pat­ents, there is cur­rently a fas­cin­at­ing de­bate around the ques­tion of pat­entab­il­ity of in­ven­tions cre­ated by AI ma­chines them­selves. Ac­cord­ing to Tom Scourfield, “Bey­ond pat­ents, we are also see­ing an in­creased use of AI in de­tect­ing and mon­it­or­ing coun­ter­feits and oth­er on­line brand harms. AI is also be­ing used to sup­ple­ment and sup­port the ana­lys­is of sim­il­ar­it­ies between com­pet­ing brands, wheth­er in terms of brand clear­ance or in­fringe­ment scen­ari­os.”Whatever de­vel­op­ments AI and oth­er in­nov­a­tion may bring, he thinks that one thing is cer­tain, “As IP law­yers, we al­ways have to be for­ward-think­ing, look­ing to pro­tect and se­cure com­pet­it­ive ad­vant­ages for our cli­ents in mar­kets and op­por­tun­it­ies that are not even fully es­tab­lished yet.” Pi­on­eer­ing new products Lon­don Funds part­ner Chris­toph­er Luck sees a real ap­pet­ite for new types of as­sets from the funds com­munity. He says that di­git­al tech­no­lo­gies are trans­form­ing the back-of­fices of as­set man­agers and are im­prov­ing the cus­tom­er ex­per­i­ence. Fund man­agers are be­com­ing bet­ter at stor­ing and har­ness­ing data, us­ing block­chain tech­no­lo­gies and plat­forms to make on­board­ing of know your cus­tom­er (KYC) in­form­a­tion and data pro­tec­tion a more stream­lined pro­cess. The use of smart con­tracts is also be­com­ing more pre­val­ent. Chris­toph­er Luck notes that the ad­vent of token­isa­tion, the pro­cess of con­vert­ing real as­sets in­to di­git­al rep­res­ent­a­tions (tokens) on a block­chain, has opened up the in­vest­ment mar­ket to a broad­er range of in­sti­tu­tion­al and re­tail in­vestors. “By demo­crat­ising or cre­at­ing more op­por­tun­it­ies for in­vestors, this is provid­ing ad­di­tion­al li­quid­ity in­to a num­ber of sec­tors, most not­ably real es­tate.” He says, “We are see­ing tokens at their most ad­vanced in the United States and Asia, and grow­ing in the UK and Europe.”  Un­der­stand­ing new en­vir­on­ments  In oth­er more tra­di­tion­al sec­tors, law­yers are in­creas­ingly be­ing ex­pec­ted to provide ad­vice on how to deal with the chal­lenges and op­por­tun­it­ies that tech­no­logy provides.Mark Ziek­man, Co-Head of the CMS Con­sumer Products Group, says, “In the con­sumer goods sec­tor, block­chain is mak­ing an im­pact, provid­ing the sup­ply chain and cus­tom­ers with a great­er de­gree of con­fid­ence in the proven­ance of a product and wheth­er it meets key sus­tain­ab­il­ity cri­ter­ia.”Cus­tom­ers, par­tic­u­larly mil­len­ni­als, are in­creas­ingly de­mand­ing in­form­a­tion around trace­ab­il­ity and audit­ab­il­ity to have con­fid­ence in FM­CG com­pan­ies, lo­gist­ics com­pan­ies and re­tail­ers.Fur­ther­more, Mark Ziek­man be­lieves that tech­no­logy in gen­er­al has played a pivotal role in ad­dress­ing wide­spread busi­ness dis­rup­tion caused by COV­ID-19, en­abling com­pan­ies to trans­form their busi­ness mod­els. Good ex­amples are res­taur­ants which al­most in­stant­an­eously changed their busi­ness mod­el to provide takeaways and food de­liv­er­ies. Shops shif­ted their fo­cus to selling on­line. These changes will not dis­ap­pear in the af­ter­math of the COV­ID-19 pan­dem­ic. Shift­ing reg­u­lat­ory land­scapes Reg­u­lat­ors con­tin­ue to face the on­go­ing chal­lenge of keep­ing pace with in­nov­a­tion and the new mar­ket dy­nam­ics it cre­ates. ESG factors have come to the fore in the minds of reg­u­lat­ors as well and this think­ing is only go­ing to in­tensi­fy. Cristina Reich­mann, a Bucharest based part­ner in the CMS Bank­ing & Fin­ance Group, says that reg­u­lat­ors are al­ways hav­ing to re­spond to new eco­nom­ic mod­els and pub­lic sen­ti­ments. She has seen fast dis­rup­tion in the bank­ing sec­tor CEE, “Ro­mania, for ex­ample, has a his­tory of in­nov­a­tion, pre­vi­ously emer­ging as a ma­jor in­ter­na­tion­al out­sourcing hub and then be­com­ing a fintech centre with a num­ber of uni­corns.” She points to agile bank­ing and fintech, which are provid­ing great­er ac­cess and a broad­er suite of ser­vices to cus­tom­ers, and with this comes reg­u­lat­ory chal­lenges. She says, “There are a lot of com­pli­ance as­pects to be met and solved.”
11/08/2021
Spot­light on ap­proaches for com­pre­hens­ive com­pli­ance: New ob­lig­a­tions for...
Be­cause of the trend to­wards a stronger aware­ness of "cor­por­ate so­cial re­spons­ib­il­ity", com­pan­ies both in Switzer­land and abroad are con­fron­ted with grow­ing de­mands for re­spons­ible cor­por­ate gov­ernance...
09/08/2021
Spot­light on ap­proaches for com­pre­hens­ive com­pli­ance: New ob­lig­a­tions for...
Be­cause of the trend to­wards a stronger aware­ness of Cor­por­ate So­cial Re­spons­ib­il­ity (CSR), com­pan­ies both in Switzer­land and abroad are con­fron­ted with grow­ing de­mands for re­spons­ible cor­por­ate gov­ernance.The most re­cent ex­ample of leg­al de­vel­op­ments in this area is the in­dir­ect counter-pro­pos­al to the fed­er­al pop­u­lar ini­ti­at­ive "the Re­spons­ible Busi­ness Ini­ti­at­ive – Pro­tect­ing hu­man rights and the en­vir­on­ment" ("Konzern­ver­ant­wor­tungsin­i­ti­at­ive"). With the ex­piry of the ref­er­en­dum dead­line on 5 Au­gust 2021, new due di­li­gence and re­port­ing reg­u­la­tions on non-fin­an­cial mat­ters as well as in areas of con­flict min­er­als and child la­bour are ex­pec­ted to come in­to force in Switzer­land on 1 Janu­ary 2022. In re­cent years, the Gov­ernance, Risk and Com­pli­ance (GRC) ap­proach has been an ef­fi­cient tool for com­pan­ies with com­plex cor­por­ate struc­tures to meet ex­pand­ing reg­u­lat­ory re­quire­ments. By means of a com­pre­hens­ive ap­proach, the areas of Gov­ernance, Risk and Com­pli­ance have been merged and com­pan­ies are well ad­vised to ex­am­ine their com­pli­ance struc­tures crit­ic­ally and, if ne­ces­sary, ad­apt them to the latest de­vel­op­ments.
30/07/2021
Plastics and pack­aging laws in Switzer­land
1. What is the gen­er­al le­gis­lat­ive frame­work reg­u­lat­ing pack­aging and plastic waste in your jur­is­dic­tion? Plastic waste and pack­aging is only scarcely reg­u­lated in Switzer­land. The Fed­er­al Coun­cil...
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15/07/2021
European Com­mis­sion pub­lished drafts of the re­vised Ver­tic­al Block Ex­emp­tion...
On 9 Ju­ly, the European Com­mis­sion pub­lished its draft re­vised Ver­tic­al Block Ex­emp­tion Reg­u­la­tion (VBER) and the cor­res­pond­ing Ver­tic­al Guidelines. The VBER con­cerns ver­tic­al agree­ments, which are agree­ments...
01/06/2021
Some leaks can­'t be fixed
“Con­fid­en­tial in­form­a­tion is like an ice cube... give it to the party who has no re­fri­ger­at­or or will not agree to keep it in one, and by the time of the tri­al you have just a pool of wa­ter.” This...
27/04/2021
The Fed­er­al Su­preme Court's judg­ment in the mat­ter "Hors-Liste Medika­mente...
On 21 April 2021, the Fed­er­al Su­preme Court pub­lished a judg­ment against Pf­izer re­gard­ing the sanc­tion or­der of the Com­pet­i­tion Com­mis­sion (COMCO) in the mat­ter Hors-Liste Medika­mente (Pre­isem­p­fehlun­gen)...
22/03/2021
Switzer­land in­tro­duces the concept of re­l­at­ive mar­ket power and re­stricts...
On Fri­day, 19 March 2021, the Swiss par­lia­ment ad­op­ted in its fi­nal vote the amended par­lia­ment­ary counter-pro­pos­al to the pop­u­lar ini­ti­at­ive "Stop the high price is­land - for fair prices". This counter-pro­pos­al...
17/02/2021
Dis­tressed M&A: Swiss com­pan­ies can use 'com­pos­i­tion pro­ceed­ing­s' to stay...
The COV­ID-19 crisis is caus­ing fin­an­cial dif­fi­culties for nu­mer­ous com­pan­ies. Of­ten, bank­ruptcy seems to be the only es­cape. Based on the char­ac­ter­ist­ics of US Chapter 11 pro­ceed­ings, Swiss re­struc­tur­ing...