Institut Mannheim v VEB Institut Leipzig

Date29 septembre 1971
CourtCommercial Court (Switzerland)
Switzerland, Tribunal de commerce of St-Gall.
Bibliographisches Institut AG (Mannheim)
VEB Bibliographisches Institut (Leipzig)

States as international persons In general Recognition of acts of foreign States and governments Expropriation without compensation Effect on economic interests situated outside the jurisdiction of expropriating State The law of Switzerland

Summary: The facts:In a dispute involving companies established in the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic respectively, both companies claimed to be the rightful successor of a company established in Gotha in 1826, which had been nationalized without compensation by the German Democratic Republic, and to be entitled to use its name.

Held:The company established in the German Democratic Republic was not entitled to use the name.

There was longstanding jurisprudence of the Federal Tribunal to the effect that expropriation without compensation of economic interests located in Switzerland would not be recognized in Switzerland. The principle that nationalizations had no extraterritorial effect had also been vigorously affirmed.

The statement of the facts as reported in Annuaire Suisse de droit international, 1974, p. 144 commences on the following page.

A dispute brought before the Tribunal de commerce of St-Gall opposed two German establishments with the same name. One of these establishments was a State undertaking of the German Democratic Republic, whilst the other was a company established according to the laws of the Federal Republic of Germany. The two establishments claimed to be the rightful successor of the establishment of the same name founded in Gotha in 1826. The Tribunal held that the East German company could not justify its use of the name of the former establishment, in particular because that establishment had been nationalized without compensation by the German Democratic Republic.

[The following is the text of the relevant part of the judgment of the Court:]

In this order of ideas it should be noted (as Kummer points out in criticizing the judgment of the Federal Tribunal in the Zeiss case,[1]Revue de la Socit des juristes bernois, 1967, pp. 150 et seq.) that it has always been the constant and well-established jurisprudence of the Federal Tribunal to refuse to recognize the confiscation without compensation of economic interests localized in Switzerland (for the most important judgments and their reasons see Alex Vannod, Fragen des...

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