Vich

Anthony Cousins Letter

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I'm not sure how this can be called a "positive update". Instead of dismissing the Swatch motion on the evident basis explained above, the Swiss judge is taking more time to evaluate it, and could end up deciding that is legitimate, that is, allowing it to go to court (another judge, more time, more money).

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OK this is my interpretation of the latest update. The best form of defence is attack hence Swatch (who are clearly now worried) have attacked by issuing a NDA in a Swiss court. Cousins have on there side Swiss lawyers who it looks like have put forward a very strong case that a NDA is not appropriate. If this proves correct then a very important step has been taken because this result further enhances the already strong case Cousins is putting forward. The worry for me is if the final case will be in a Swiss not a UK court

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I do think that this is a positive development since it suggests that even on their home ground in a Swiss court the case Swatch has brought against Cousins is at least questionable. If the further deliberations by the Swiss judiciary bear this out and the NDA is considered to be groundless then from what I can gather the next round would be fought in the UK High Court. Swatch clearly don't want that to happen as they launched their NDA case in Switzerland specifically to try and prevent it.

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Hers the latest update from cousins.... I'm not sure i quite understand it! is this meaning the watchdog says swatch must stop supplying movements??

News Update: 28.10.16 - Watchdog says Swatch must stick to movements deal

http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/competition_watchdog-says-swatch-must-stick-to-movements-deal/42549174

The origins of this Comco action are all about the dominant position that ETA has in the Swiss movement manufacture market place. There key rivals in this area are Selita and Soprod, who are minnows in comparison. Comco negotiated with ETA for a reduction in movements sold, the apparent motive being to allow rivals a chance of market share. ETA negotiated the timing of these limits and then unfortunately for ETA, the bottom fell out the Far East market for luxury Swiss watches, and they were left with a massive overstock, so they went cap in hand back to Comco to ask if either the limits could be temporarily raised, or the deadlines extended. No one in the industry is surprised that Comco have said “No”. In the last month, another Swiss movement manufacturer (ISA) has shut down, and whilst they mostly made cheap quartz movements, the result is less competition in the Swiss Movement market, not more, which is what Comco were looking for.

 This story is all about ETA selling movements to all sorts of watch manufacturers, both in and out of the Swatch Group. Remember that ETA do not make complete watches, only movements and components. This matter is not about supply of spares to wholesalers like Cousins. Swatch and media reports use the term "watch maker" and everyone needs to be careful not to confuse the term “watch maker” (meaning in this context watch manufacturer) which is who ETA are trying to shift these movements onto, and “watch repairer”, which is relevant to the after sales repair and service market.

Anthony Cousins.

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Hers the latest update from cousins.... I'm not sure i quite understand it! is this meaning the watchdog says swatch must stop supplying movements??

That they cannot supply more than agreed despite crying for more.
I wasn't even aware there was a cap. Now if they really want to sell more they will have to sell to anyone, anywhere,and maybe for less.

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I think it means that the Swiss competition commision has told E.T.A to limit its supply of movements to third party watch manufactures to allow smaller producers a share of the market, E.T.A agreed to this and is now stuck with too many movements it cant shift because its tied its self into the agreement. They have tried to dominate the market and got there fingers burnt in the far east. 

I think this shows that the Swiss think that E.T.A have got too big and smaller manufacture can not compete, its a sensible decision to make them stick to the agreement on the part Comco.

 

 

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9 hours ago, wls1971 said:

I think it means that the Swiss competition commission has told E.T.A to limit its supply of movements to third party watch manufactures to allow smaller producers a share of the market, E.T.A agreed to this and is now stuck with too many movements it cant shift because its tied its self into the agreement. They have tried to dominate the market and got there fingers burnt in the far east. 

I think this shows that the Swiss think that E.T.A have got too big and smaller manufacture can not compete, its a sensible decision to make them stick to the agreement on the part Comco.

 

 

These legal rulings are difficult to interpret & yes that is my take on it too. The ETA movement is a great reliable  workhorse that was replaceable & repairable & was therefore fitted to millions of watches. However this is no longer the case with Asian movements now being fitted. Customers, such as Sellita or Tudor, have ordered 700,000 fewer movements for 2017 than for this year, leading to idle capacity at ETA. Also companies such as Brietling are now manufacturing their own movements.  Sadly it seems to me that the Swatch board just took their eye of the ball. They already had 60% of the mechanical market & all was well. However instead of consolidating this position they decided (despite being warned about the consequences) to restrict movements parts etc. Now they are spending a lot of money & time in the courts & not spending it on R&D developing an affordable smart watch using their brand name Swatch. If I was a share holder of Swatch I would be demanding answers to what actual the end game was.

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Customers, such as Sellita or Tudor, have ordered 700,000 fewer movements for 2017 than for this year, leading to idle capacity at ETA. 
Not Sellita, they are ETA competitors not customers.
Now they are spending a lot of money & time in the courts & not spending it on R&D developing an affordable smart watch using their brand name Swatch.
I don't think the case brought forward by Cousins (I don't know of any other) is being very expensive for ETA or the Swatch group and certainly not to influence product development decisions. And it will be a Swiss court, so home play for them. Who is risking is Antony Cousins which is actually a defendant, I hope he will receive financial support from others.

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The myth of how the USA works is that we have a system that is governed by constitutional compliance and a sense of fairness to the American people as a whole. The sad reality is that the system works well for a small group of wealthy special interests that  provide seemingly endless amounts of money to control those who are in charge. The wealthy Swiss watch companies can out bribe any efforts made by independent watchmakers so the outcome is the current situation that now exists.

 

Until people begin to look at quality as the actual precision, craftsmanship and functional value of a product, instead of its designer label, interests such as the Swiss watch companies will continue to take advantage  of the situation. When I look at the tooling marks made from a stamping press on Swiss watch movements I wonder how people can't see what is really going on.

 david  

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For those who don't get these directly, Cousins has sent out an update to their case. In true legal style, this doesn't mean anything with respect to the main issue, it is just progress in removing an obstacle placed in the way

S

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Swatch v Cousins. All submissions to the court are in Judge has advised that he will deliver his verdict shortly.
527fdbed-f661-4095-aab7-752b9a331bc7.jpg

Swatch v Cousins

News Update: 27.4.17 - All submissions to the court are in, the Judge has advised that he will deliver his verdict shortly.


Many of you have asked for an update on the progress of the law suit that Swatch have brought against us in the Swiss courts. You will recall that we followed the required legal process of writing a letter advising Swatch that we would be taking the matter to the High Court in London if they refused to resupply us with parts.  In response, they have attempted to prevent the English courts from hearing the case by launching pre-emptive action against us in Bern.

Our Swiss lawyers responded to their claim by pointing out to the court several reasons why this case was not admissible, and were successful in arguing (against Swatch’s wishes) that this issue should be decided by the judge before any arguments about the legality of parts restrictions are heard. I can now advise you that all submissions on these points of jurisdiction and admissibility have now been made to the court, and the Judge has advised that he will deliver his verdict shortly. We hope that this will be within the next six to ten weeks.

If the Swiss courts agree that the Swatch claim against us is not admissible, then we will begin the process of asking the High Court in London to hear the matter, and give a binding decision on whether or not Swatch’s refusal to supply spares is an abuse of their dominant market position.

We will update again on this process when the decision comes in from the judge in Bern.

Kind Regards
 
Anthony Cousins
 





 

Cousins Material House · Unit J, Chesham Close · Romford, Essex RM7 7PJ · United Kingdom 
 

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Edited by StuartBaker104

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Obstacle removed (although still subject to appeal)...

527fdbed-f661-4095-aab7-752b9a331bc7.jpg

Swatch v Cousins

Swiss Court Rules against Swatch and in Favour of Cousins


Late yesterday afternoon, our lawyers in Zurich received the ruling we have been waiting for from the Court in Bern. I am pleased to advise you that the Judge has declared the claim that Swatch brought against us to be inadmissible under Swiss Law, and has dismissed the case.
 
Cousins had originally given Swatch three weeks to resupply spares, or face legal action to be brought by us in the High Court in London. Their response was to bring a pre-emptive Negative Declaratory Action against us in the Berne Court. What Swatch were asking for, was that a Swiss judge should rule that they had done nothing wrong under British and European law, and that they were not obliged to resupply us.
 
Clearly, the best place to determine what British law requires is in a British court, so it was immediately apparent to us that the Swatch claim in Bern was a blatant attempt to waste time, and avoid facing the consequences of their unlawful parts embargo on the independent repair trade. As we have explained in previous news releases, it is a requirement of Swiss law that anyone bringing a Negative Declaratory Action must firstly show that there was little prospect of their opponent bringing the matter before the courts in their own right. As the action that triggered Swatch to make this claim was Cousins letter declaring its intention to bring an action in the High Court, this requirement was not met, and it is for this reason that Swatch’s case has been thrown out by the Bern Court.
 
It is important to understand that the Bern Court has not given any opinion or ruling on whether or not Swatch are obliged to supply us with spares, only that this attempt by Swatch to drag the matter away from the High Court is not valid under Swiss Law.
 
We are very grateful to the Bern Court for the equitable manner in which they have dealt with this case. We now have to wait until the end of August whilst Swatch decide whether or not to appeal against this decision, and will then be able to explain further how this case will progress.
 
In the meantime, we urge all who work in the Independent Watch Repair sector to understand that it is possible to beat the industry giants, and to be assured that Cousins is staying in this fight until it is won.
 
Kind regards
 
Anthony Cousins
Managing Director, Cousins Material House Ltd.

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Swatch v Cousins. Swatch Appeal against Bern Court decision.

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527fdbed-f661-4095-aab7-752b9a331bc7.jpg

Swatch. A Watch Company that Wastes Time...

“Forum Running” is a term that describes an attempt to avoid legal action threatened in one Court, by dragging it to another that has no real reason to deal with it. It is a rather unlawful practice  that is sometimes used by big companies to frighten off smaller opponents by wasting their time and money. When the Judge in Bern dismissed Swatch’s claim against Cousins, he made it tolerably clear that Forum Running was not going to be allowed in his Court.

Wasting time and money in the hope Cousins will go away seems to be one of Swatch’s tactics, and the fact that they have now, as we expected, appealed against the Bern Court ruling seems to demonstrate that they still haven’t learned that Cousins will not be frightened off, and will see this through to the end.

What particularly demonstrates the time wasting nature of the appeal is that the Bern decision was based on a ruling from the Swiss Federal Supreme Court, and it is this very same body that the appeal has been made to. Our Swiss lawyers are currently studying the details of the appeal, which arrived with them recently, however, it seems on first reading that Swatch are trying to argue, amongst other things, that the Supreme Court has it wrong, and needs to change its practice. It’s hard to say what the consequences of that would be for the Swiss legal system. The appeal process is likely to run for less than ten months. For now, Cousins is still here, still not frightened, and still fighting.  

Some companies like to waste time, Cousins likes to save time ….. along with the independent repair industry that keeps it ticking. 

Kind Regards

Anthony Cousins
Managing Director, Cousins Material House Ltd.

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48 minutes ago, Vich said:

Swatch v Cousins. Swatch Appeal against Bern Court decision.

 

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527fdbed-f661-4095-aab7-752b9a331bc7.jpg

 

Swatch. A Watch Company that Wastes Time...

 

“Forum Running” is a term that describes an attempt to avoid legal action threatened in one Court, by dragging it to another that has no real reason to deal with it. It is a rather unlawful practice  that is sometimes used by big companies to frighten off smaller opponents by wasting their time and money. When the Judge in Bern dismissed Swatch’s claim against Cousins, he made it tolerably clear that Forum Running was not going to be allowed in his Court.

Wasting time and money in the hope Cousins will go away seems to be one of Swatch’s tactics, and the fact that they have now, as we expected, appealed against the Bern Court ruling seems to demonstrate that they still haven’t learned that Cousins will not be frightened off, and will see this through to the end.

What particularly demonstrates the time wasting nature of the appeal is that the Bern decision was based on a ruling from the Swiss Federal Supreme Court, and it is this very same body that the appeal has been made to. Our Swiss lawyers are currently studying the details of the appeal, which arrived with them recently, however, it seems on first reading that Swatch are trying to argue, amongst other things, that the Supreme Court has it wrong, and needs to change its practice. It’s hard to say what the consequences of that would be for the Swiss legal system. The appeal process is likely to run for less than ten months. For now, Cousins is still here, still not frightened, and still fighting.  

Some companies like to waste time, Cousins likes to save time ….. along with the independent repair industry that keeps it ticking. 

Kind Regards

Anthony Cousins
Managing Director, Cousins Material House Ltd.

 

Cousins has a very good chance of winning providing they don't run out of money. Another ten months of legal procedures is going to be costly. If Cousins loses the case and are liable for the costs then sadly I predict it will be the end of our best supplier.

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I hope it ends up as a true victory for Cousins partly for the reasons given by CB and partly because I would like to see a company that seems to think the law is something to be worked around, to brings matters to their own largely self serving advantage, to the detriment of others and the industry as a whole.
Vic

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I hope it ends up as a true victory for Cousins partly for the reasons given by CB and partly because I would like to see a company that seems to think the law is something to be worked around to brings matters to their own largely self serving advantage, to the detriment of others and the industry as a whole, properly brought into line.

I have nothing against any company that becomes a market leader because the goods they supply are much better than anything else on sale.

However, when a company systematically sets about buying out and removing the competition with the intention of controlling and monopolising an entire industry in the most protectionist of self serving ways - well, I don't like it, something inside me screams about fairness and dishonour. At the risk of sounding dramatic their actions and attitudes are perhaps even coming close to being evil.

Vic

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Latest I have received:-

d9d4cf2b-e560-4cbb-97d4-18aef2ec0117.jpg

CEAHR loses EU Court case against the Commission

Earlier this week, the European General Court gave its ruling in the case that CEAHR brought against the EU Commission. The Court ruled that it could not overturn the findings of the second Commission investigation, which was closed on the ground of ‘administrative priorities’.  The Commission is under no obligation to investigate every complaint if it believes there is insufficient justification for the costs of an investigation.  The Court confirmed the Commission’s assessment, and found that the Commission was within its powers to close the investigation without making a final finding of infringement or non-infringement.  This ruling has not changed anything for Cousins in its legal dispute with Swatch, and the English courts remain free to find that that the conduct of the Swiss watch manufacturers is anti-competitive.
 
The onus was always on CEAHR to demonstrate where the Commission had got its reasoning wrong, and reading through the judgment it becomes clear that CEAHR just did not produce sufficient evidence to support their arguments, refuting the findings of the EU Commission.
 
From the moment Cousins first considered taking action against Swatch, we knew that evidence was the key to winning. We applied to be an intervener in support of the CEAHR position and the need for an investigation, in the same way LVMH, Rolex, and Swatch intervened to support the closure of the investigation. The EU Court refused our application on the basis that CEAHR represent watch repairers, and as Cousins is a parts supplier not a repairer, we were not directly involved in the European proceedings. The opportunity for Cousins to present its arguments and evidence proving the anti-competitive nature of Swatch’s conduct to the English High Court will come in due course.

Kind Regards

Anthony Cousins
Managing Director, Cousins Material House Ltd.

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