DR. DOROTHEE MINERS-SCHRAMM is a top-rated European arbitration lawyer with particular experience in technology, engineering and life sciences, including pharmaceuticals, medtech and biotech. She is also a member of the firm’s Global Life Sciences Leadership Council. Praised by clients as “impressive” and “most proactive and responsive,” she has strong advocacy skills and has prevailed in claims in excess of US$1.9 billion over the last few years. She is also regularly appointed as an arbitrator to decide high-value international disputes. Beyond her analytical and legal skills, Dorothee has developed several innovative arbitration tools, including:
- an interactive tool that helps clients build the best dispute resolution clause for any given contract tailored to the client’s preferences and policies;
- an algorithm that helps clients assess the likelihood of different litigation outcomes and determines a net claim value that estimates the client’s overall risk; and
- a self-calculating tool that helps companies calculate damages for complex claims with multiple elements in dispute.
A trusted and pragmatic adviser, Dorothee partners with her clients to efficiently develop robust strategies to achieve their business goals and avoid adverse exposure. Her hands-on experience as advisor, advocate and arbitrator spans a broad range of transactions, including contracts relating to the supply and distribution chain (e.g., sales and distribution agreements), contracts commercializing intellectual property (e.g., licensing and cross-licensing agreements), collaboration and partnership agreements (e.g., joint development, technical cooperation projects and joint ventures), disputes arising from large infrastructure and energy projects, contracts for works (e.g., construction and manufacturing agreements), contracts for services, and M&A transactions (e.g., share purchase and asset purchase agreements).
Clients have turned to Dorothee as a thought leader and trusted source of advice for managing exposure and commercial risk in times of crisis, including the COVID-19 pandemic. Dorothee also advises clients in connection with avoiding contract disputes, questions relating to trade associations (in particular in the life sciences industry), the setting aside and enforcement of arbitral awards, execution and attachment proceedings, judicial assistance for foreign litigation and investigations, international litigation and private international law, including issues of jurisdiction, recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments, and Swiss and German contract law.
In the GAR 100 of 2020 and 2019, Dorothee was described by sources as “especially impressive” and as “the most proactive and responsive outside counsel I have worked with in my long career as in-house counsel.” In Chambers Global 2021, one client says: “In addition to her great legal skills and business acumen, she is extremely proactive, reliable and creative.” According to Who’s Who Legal Switzerland 2016, Dorothee is praised as an “exceptionally analytical lawyer” who “knows her cases inside out,” especially when it comes to engineering and technology projects. In Chambers Europe 2021, Dorothee is praised for her ability to “evaluate the position for the client in every detail so the client has a good understanding of perspective over a potential dispute.” She has also been recognized by Who’s Who Legal since 2017 in the sections “Thought Leaders – Arbitration” (Global and Switzerland), “Arbitration” (Global and Switzerland), and “Future Leaders – Arbitration.” Dorothee has recently been recognized in The Best Lawyers in Switzerland 2022 for Arbitration and Mediation.
Dorothee is a member of the firm’s Technology Committee and the COVID-19 Task Force. She regularly publishes and speaks at conferences on issues of international arbitration and private international law. Qualified in Switzerland, she holds law degrees with highest distinction from German and Swiss universities, and speaks English, German and French.
Dorothee’s recent experience in technology and engineering disputes includes:
- Securing a €620 million arbitral award for one of the world’s largest nuclear energy companies and successfully defending against counterclaims of €120 million. This complex ICC arbitration was seated in Zurich under Bulgarian law and related to the cancellation of a nuclear power plant project. Dorothee took responsibility for the complex (and ultimately successful) claims relating to the key nuclear equipment worth several hundred million Euros, and examined several technical witnesses during the two-week witness hearing in Geneva. The Sidley team won The American Lawyer 2017 Award for “Global Dispute of the Year: Commercial Arbitration (Europe)” for this work.
- Securing a victory for two affiliates of a global leader in the semiconductor market in an ICC arbitration seated in Paris, concerning a joint research and development project governed by Belgian law. The dispute concerns the ownership of and utilization rights for important patents used in modern mobile device applications, and parallel patent infringement and invalidity litigation in several countries. Dorothee examined several technical witnesses and all technical experts during the one-week witness hearing. The Arbitral Tribunal awarded the client free rights to the patents and damages, and ordered the counterparty to withdraw all infringement suits.
- Successfully acting for a global technology company in a multi-forum dispute concerning the scope and validity of cross-licenses in the insolvency of a former co-development partner.
- Acting as a sole arbitrator in a Swiss-seated ICC arbitration concerning payment claims arising out of several contracts related to the construction of a combined cycle power plant in the Middle East.
- Acting as presiding arbitrator and co-arbitrator in two significant ICC arbitrations seated in the Middle East and in Switzerland relating to shareholder agreements and consortium agreements for the construction of desalination plants in the Middle East.
Her recent experience in life sciences disputes includes:
- Securing a victory for two affiliates of a leading worldwide healthcare company in an ICC arbitration seated in Paris in a post-M&A dispute concerning the sale of a significant pharmaceutical business with commercially important drugs. Dorothee took responsibility for the client’s successful counterclaim for an indemnity arising from litigation against a generic under the Canadian equivalent of the U.S. Hatch-Waxman Act and examined the sole third-party witness during the hearing.
- Successfully acting for a leading diagnostics company in an ad-hoc arbitration seated in the U.S. concerning the termination of a distribution agreement and related competition law defences.
- Successfully acting for a leading global life sciences company in disputes with key suppliers relating to the procurement of important chemicals. The disputes concerned disruptions in the supply chain for raw materials used to produce essential products of the client.
- Acting as a sole arbitrator in a Paris-seated ICC arbitration between European companies concerning the termination of a distribution agreement for an important drug based on breach of contract and hardship due to the commercial effects of reference pricing.
- Acting as a sole arbitrator in a Swiss Rules arbitration between European life sciences companies concerning technical defects and GMP non-compliance of a manufacturing line for vaccination vials.
- Acting as a sole arbitrator in a Swiss Rules arbitration between a global life sciences company and its Middle Eastern distributor concerning the distribution of complex and high-value medical robots.
Other representative experience includes:
- Representing as lead counsel South African athletic World Champion and Olympic gold medalist Caster Semenya in appellate proceedings before the Swiss Federal Supreme Court against the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s award upholding controversial IAAF regulations requiring certain female athletes to lower their natural testosterone levels through hormonal drug intervention (see the story here).
- Successfully representing the affiliate of a large Russian group of companies in an ICC arbitration against the affiliate of a Central Asian entity relating to the breach of a supply agreement governed by Swiss law. Dorothee examined the client’s sole witness, an expert witness, at the hearing in Zurich. After the client was awarded approximately US$70 million, Dorothee successfully acted for the client in setting aside proceedings brought by the counterparty before the Swiss Federal Supreme Court.
- Securing a US$275 million award for a leading CIS aluminium company and successfully defending against over US$800 million in counterclaims in a Swiss Rules arbitration against an important state-owned entity in Central Asia. The dispute involved allegations of corruption and complex issues of Swiss, English, BVI and Russian law.
- Currently representing a South American LNG liquefaction plant in two significant New York-seated ICC arbitrations against the operator of a gas field. The dispute concerns gas pricing and the re-exportation of LNG.
- Successfully representing a global food and beverage company in a Swiss-seated ICC arbitration concerning the allegedly wrongful termination of a cooperation agreement and related requests for cease-and-desist orders.
- Acting as a sole arbitrator in a Swiss Rules arbitration concerning exclusivity rights and direct sales under a distribution agreement for electronic materials