Legal Environment

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In this page: Business Contract | Intellectual Property | Legal Framework of Business | International Dispute Resolution


Business Contract

General Observation
Sweden is part of the Convention of Rome (1980) which details the legal rules governing the drawing up of international sales contracts for goods, the obligations of the buyer and the seller, recourse in case of breach of contract and other aspects of the contract.
Law Applicable to the Contract
The sale of goods is covered by the Law Applicable to the Sale of Goods, incorporated into the Convention of The Hague (1955). Sweden is part of the Vienna Convention. The Convention of Rome (on the law applicable to contractual obligations) allows Sweden to keep its national regulations concerning legal conflict relative to goods transport by sea.
Advisable Incoterms
It is preferable to choose an incoterm FOB  or CIF. Avoid EXW, if you do not want to have to take care of the transport in Sweden which can be complicated.
Language of Domestic Contract
Other Laws Which Can Be Used in Domestic Contracts
The signatories to a contract can choose which law applies to all or part of the contract as well as the competent court in case of dispute. If the parties have not explicitly chosen an applicable law, the contract is governed by the law of the country with which it has the closest ties, according to the principle of proximity (usual place of residence, or central administration - of the provider - the location of the main establishment or the establishment which provides the service, etc.).

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Intellectual Property

National Organisations
The organisation responsible for the protection of intellectual property in Sweden is the Swedish Patent and Registration Office.
Regional Organisations
Patent Protection: the European Patent Office
Governing trademarks, designs and models: the European Union Intellectual Property Office
International Membership
Member of the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization)
Signatory to the Paris Convention For the Protection of Intellectual Property
Membership to the TRIPS agreement - Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)

National Regulation and International Agreements

Type of property and law Validity International Agreements Signed
Patent Act
20 years with annual renewal fees Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)
Trademarks Act
5 years Trademark Law Treaty
Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks
The Swedish Copyright Legislation
70 years after the death of the author Berne convention For the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works
Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of Their Phonograms
Rome ConventionFor the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations
WIPO Copyright Treaty
WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty
Industrial Models
Industrial designs
20 years with annual renewal fees  

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Legal Framework of Business

Equity of Judgments

Equal Treatment of Nationals and Foreigners
Foreign nationals can have an impartial trial.
The Language of Justice
Swedish is the language of justice, but English is commonly used.
Recourse to an Interpreter
Legal Similarities
The legal system is based on a system of civil law influenced by common law. The main law is the Constitution of 1974. As Sweden belongs to the European Union, its national law must adhere to the conditions of community legislation.

The Different Legal Codes

Accounting regulations Annual Accounts Act (1995)
Bookkeeping Act (1999)
Contract and property law Swedish Competition Act
Consumer law Marketing Act
Company law Act on Identification Designation for Legal Entities (1974)
Swedish Code of Corporate Governance
The Swedish Competition Act
Investment law The Sveriges Riksbank Act (Law on the National Bank of Sweden)
The Swedish Investment Funds Act
Labour law The Labour Disputes (Judicial Procedure) Act
The Work Environment Act
Checking National Laws Online
Lexadin library of Swedish laws
Other Useful Resources
Legal system
Country Guides
LexMundi, A guide to doing business in Sweden

The Jurisdictions

District Courts, Courts of Appeal, Supreme Court Private law, criminal law
Administrative Courts Public law
Special Courts Labour law, commercial law

Court Officials

In Sweden, all lawyers are private (the offices of public lawyers have been abolished). Contrary to many foreign legal systems, Sweden allows citizens to plead personally before a court; there is no obligation to get representation or to resort to the services of a lawyer in our country. Nor does Sweden have a monopoly of lawyers, imposing on authorized representatives or legal counsel to be lawyers.
Clerk of the Court
The Clerk of the Court is a State employee who works in a Clerk's Office. He is in charge of enforcing court decisions and of cases relative to private and public debt which are pending. In addition, the State is often represented by a Clerk in Court in cases of bankruptcy negotiations, signing of market contracts and discharge of debts.
Most judges work in one of the two general jurisdictional organizations. The first, general courts, include a large number of district courts, six appeal courts and the Supreme Court. The second one is made up of general administrative courts and includes a large number of administrative courts, four administrative appeal courts and an administrative Supreme Court.
State Prosecutor
State Prosecutors play a very important role within both the legal system and criminal procedures. They investigate offences, decide indictments, and plead before the court. In principle, State Prosecutors benefit from the same independence as judges and give rulings personally on indictments.

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International Dispute Resolution

Arbitration is a solution for settling disputes. An arbitrator is called in who has to make the final decision.
Arbitration Law
The Swedish Arbitration Act
Conformity to International Commercial Arbitration Rules
Party to the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards.
Party to the Geneva Protocol on Arbitration Clauses.
Party to the Geneva Convention of the Execution of Foreign Arbitral Awards.
Appointment of Arbitrators
A judicial arbitrator must be of legal age and be a professional judge of the legal system. One or several arbitrators may be appointed to settle a case. The arbitrator can use the jurisdiction of his choice. An arbitrator may be chosen by other arbitrators.
Arbitration Procedure
The most important organization is the Arbitration Institute of the Chamber of Commerce of Stockholm. It deals with about 100 cases a year, about 25% of which are national and international arbitrations based on its own regulations, which came into force on 1 April 1999.

When presenting his petition, the plaintiff must set out briefly the facts of the dispute and pay the case fees; if there are any irregularities, the Institute can decide to interrupt the procedure. The defendant, after the Institute has informed him of the existence of an arbitration petition concerning him, sets out his arguments. If there is no agreement between the parties on the subject, the Institute takes charge of setting up the Arbitration Tribunal and deciding where the arbitration will take place.
The average duration of an arbitration procedure was 211 days in 1998.

Registration fees are 1 000 EUR. For a dispute of 100 000 EUR, the fees paid to the presiding judge of the Arbitration Tribunal (if there is just one arbitrator) are between 4 000 and 8 500 EUR; if there are several arbitrators, each co-arbitrator has a right to 60% of the fees paid to the presiding judge of the Arbitration Tribunal. Administrative costs are 3 000 EUR. When the dispute is settled by one single arbitrator, the total cost is between 8 000 and 12 500 EUR.
Permanent Arbitration Bodies
Arbitration Institute of the Chamber of Commerce of Stockholm (Sectors Covered: All)

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Latest Update: July 2024