Nicolas Birkhäuser combines his first-rate practice in competition law with strong expertise in IP.  He is distinguished as a leading lawyer by Chambers, Legal 500, Best Lawyers and other legal directories.

Deals & Cases

FEMSA and Valora join forces – Agreement on the acquisition of Valora Holding AG by FEMSA, a leading Latin American retailer by way of public tender cash offer
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A.P. Møller Holding acquires Unilabs
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EQT sells majority stake in VFS Global
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Nicolas Birkhäuser has extensive experience representing companies in cartel and abuse of dominant position investigations as well as in merger control proceedings, including multijurisdictional coordination. Nicolas Birkhäuser also focuses on IP, including in particular transactions and IP related contracts.

Nicolas Birkhäuser advises companies across a broad range of industries, including the automotive sector, financial services, insurance, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, consumer goods, food, mechanical engineering, construction, wholesale and retail, media, telecommunications, IT and sports.

Nicolas Birkhäuser successfully represents leading companies in these industries in high-profile transactions, including, among other things, the setup and growth of their business, cooperation, distribution, sourcing, R&D, market dominance and compliance.

The following is a selection of cases in which Nicolas Birkhäuser acted as a counsel:

  • Merger control proceedings, such as the acquisition of SIX Payment Services by Atos / Worldline, European leader in the payments and transactional services industry, 2018
  • Cartel and abuse of dominance investigations by the Competition Commission
  • Counsel to leading bank in investigation of alleged LIBOR rate manipulation, 2017-2017, partly ongoing
  • Counsel to leading bank in investigation of alleged misconduct relating to FX, 2014-ongoing
  • Counsel to premium car manufacturer in investigation of alleged collusion with regard to leasing conditions, 2014-ongoing
  • Counsel to major construction company in investigations of alleged bid rigging, 2009-ongoing
  • Counsel to BMW as defendant in a major parallel import case, 2010-2017
  • High-profile transactions including competition law and IP, among others, the takeover of Actelion by Johnson & Johnson, 2017, and the cooperation between Navistar Inc. and MAN/Volkswagen, 2017
  • Counsel to Procter & Gamble for competition law and IP, ongoing
  • Counsel to Coop Genossenschaft, major Swiss retailer, for competition law, ongoing
  • Counsel to Chr. Hansen Holding A/S on matters concerning intellectual property, including in particular technology transfer and licensing, in the context of its agreement with Lonza AG to establish a 50/50 joint venture
  • Counsel to ASSA ABLOY AB on matters concerning intellectual property in the context of its acquisition of a 54% controlling stake in agta record ag
  • Disputes including competition law and IP
2003 University of Cambridge, LL.M.
2000 Admitted to the Bar (Attorney-at-law)
1998 University of Basel, Master Degree
Best Lawyers 2013 – 2025
Best Lawyers/ Handelsblatt Switzerland 2023/24 – Lawyer of the Year for Antitrust/Competition Law
Chambers Europe 2013 – 2024
The Legal500 EMEA 2021 – 2024 – Leading Individual
IP Stars 2023 – Transaction Star – Switzerland
Who’s Who Legal: Thought Leaders – Switzerland 2020 – 2023
Who’s Who Legal: Global 2020 – 2024
Who’s Who Legal: Switzerland 2016 – 2024
IP Stars 2022 – Transaction Star – Switzerland
IP Stars 2021 – Transaction Star – Switzerland
The Legal500 EMEA 2020 – Recommended
IP Stars 2020 – Transaction Star – Switzerland
The Legal500 EMEA 2019 – Recommended
The Legal500 EMEA 2018 – Recommended
  • Committee of the Swiss Association of Competition Law (asas)
  • Studienvereinigung Kartellrecht e.V.
  • LES Licensing Executives Society Switzerland
  • INGRES Institute for Industrial Property Law
  • AIPPI International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property
  • Swiss Bar Association
  • Zurich Bar Association
2011 Partner, Niederer Kraft Frey
2003 Associate, Niederer Kraft Frey
2000 Associate with major law firm in Zurich




Deals & Cases


Rayner Group acquires This AG

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IDAK Food Group acquires Romer’s Hausbäckerei AG

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Sonio group merges with BUSINESS IT AG

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Market Perception

«‘Nicolas Birkhäuser is very competent, customer-oriented, flexible and professionally excellent’. ‘Nicolas Birkhäuser has an excellent expert knowledge and provides understandable advice despite the complexity of the topic’. »
Legal 500 2024
«‘Nicolas Birkhäuser is a top partner for legal issues’. ‘We have an excellent cooperation with Mr. Birkhäuser. He is always in a good mood and offers high quality and excellent service’. ‘He is always responsive, accurate and thorough’.»
Chambers 2024
«We were pleased with the performance of the services and the knowledge and experience shared by Nicolas and would definitely engage him again.; He is proficient in advising on complex antitrust matters touching on multiple jurisdictions. »
Chambers 2023
«Nicolas Birkhäuser is regarded as ‘one of the finest lawyers in Switzerland’ and ‘a great lawyer who it is a pleasure to work with’. »
Who’s Who Legal 2022
«Nicolas Birkhäuser has an outstanding knowledge of competition law matters. His availability for questions is exceptional and his answers are always very well-founded. He takes into consideration the business models and always strives for best solutions.»
Legal 500 2022
«Nicolas Birkhäuser stands out as ‘one of the best’ at representing companies in cartel and abuse of dominance investigations, as well as merger control proceedings. »
Who’s Who Legal 2022
«Nicolas Birkhäuser handled the matters exactly how we needed him to. He was fully committed, fully dedicated, always available and passionate about the job to be done. We achieved all our goals and he did a great job. »
Chambers 2022

Awards & Rankings


Nineteen NKF lawyers listed as “Thought Leaders Switzerland 2023” by Who’s Who Legal

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NKF recognised as highly recommended firm for IP Transactions by IP Stars 2023 – Switzerland

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NKF recognised as “Law Firm of the Year” for Mergers and Acquisitions Law by Best Lawyers/…

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Firm News


Niederer Kraft Frey appoints two new Partners and welcomes Prof. Dr. Rolf Sethe as new Of Counsel

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In the Media


Cross-border cooperation of national competition authorities

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Competition Law in Switzerland: Overview (Übersicht über das Schweizer Kartellrecht), 2024

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Non-Compete, Non-Solicitation und Retention-Agreements in M&A-Transaktionen 2022

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Information Exchange and Related Risks – Switzerland Chapter 2022

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Speaking Engagements


Wann ist ein Preis ein Preis? (When is a price a price?), 2023

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Roundtable – Marktmachtmissbrauch – Quo Vadis? (Roundtable – Abuse of Dominance – Quo Vadis?),…

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Fiction or Reality: Who cares about effects in competition law? 2022

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Newsletters & Alerts


Competition Law – COVID-19 Update

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Major re-interpretation of Swiss competition law

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