Rüdiger Harms’ work focuses on litigation and arbitration matters.

He is active across the entire spectrum of commercial law, with a particular specialization in antitrust litigation, and extensive experience in the automotive, technology and consumables industries. Rüdiger is well-versed in advising clients on the potential risks and rewards of litigation and helps them to develop and pursue effective strategies to achieve their goals in the context of their commercial needs. His clients note that he balances personal approachability with tenacity during negotiation and litigation.

Rüdiger regularly represents clients before national courts in commercial and cartel follow-on damages cases. Some of these cases have resulted in landmark judgments.

Prior to his joining Cleary Gottlieb in 2008, Rüdiger was with another major international law firm in Düsseldorf and advised some of the world’s leading manufacturers of mobile telephones and hydraulic components, and numerous OEMs, in particular in the automotive and technology sectors (2000 to 2006).

From 2008 to 2012, he was resident in our Frankfurt office. Rüdiger became counsel in 2013.

Notable Experiences

  • Several automotive suppliers in connection with cartel damages claims raised by customers following cartel decisions by the German or EU antitrust authorities.

  • A leading corn mill operator in cartel damages litigation commenced by various plaintiffs before the Hannover Regional Court.

  • The world’s leading food producer in cartel damages litigation before the Mannheim Regional Court.

  • A leading automobile manufacturer in investigations and consumer litigation cases related to emissions.

  • A Russian bank in litigation commenced by the insolvency administrator of a German company before the Berlin Regional Court.

  • An automotive supplier in an arbitration against a leading automobile manufacturer related to a contractual dispute.

  • A leading manufacturer of laundry, beauty, and home care products in cartel damages litigation before several German courts.

  • A leading airfreight carrier in cartel damages litigation before the Cologne regional court.

  • A leading global manufacturer of elevators and escalators in cartel damages litigation before several German courts.

  • A leading global manufacturer of home appliances in cartel damages litigation before several German courts.

  • A world leader in gases in cartel damages litigation before the Dortmund court.

  • A number of companies fined by the European Commission or the Federal Cartel Office for their participation in different cartels concerning follow-on damages claims.

  • Agfa-Gevaert Group in numerous arbitrations and litigations in German courts against, among others, the insolvency administrator of AgfaPhoto GmbH, related to the divestiture of Agfa-Gevaert’s consumer imaging business to the AgfaPhoto group of companies.

  • A leading factory outlet operator in litigation regarding scope of noncompete obligations in factory outlet lease agreements.

  • A major film studio in disputes under contract law and in the implementation of strategic business decisions, all the way to court proceedings.

  • A leading U.S.-based IT hardware and software corporation in litigation with a German IT distribution company with respect to purchasing terms.

  • A German subsidiary of an international bank in litigation against investors in connection with purchased options for shares in a German company.

  • A leading global chemical company in a dispute with a customer related to the operation of a chemical plant.

See More

Selected Activities

Judge, Local Court of Hamburg, 2006–2008


The Mergers and Acquisitions Litigation Review, 4th Edition, Germany chapter, October 2023 (together with Samira Meis)

Draft Government Bill Aims to Strengthen Germany as a Seat for Litigation,” Cleary Gottlieb Alert Memorandum, September 18, 2023 (together with Julian Alexander Sanner and Berta Boknik)

Global Arbitration Review’s “Litigation 2023,” Germany chapter, May 10, 2023 (together with Patrick Gerardy)

Five International Arbitration Trends And Topics For 2023,” Cleary Gottlieb Alert Memorandum, January 30, 2023

Recent Developments in International Civil Procedure: Document Discovery and the Recognition of Foreign Court Decisions in Germany,” Cleary Gottlieb Alert Memorandum, December 15, 2022 (with Nils Andräs, Patrick Gerardy, Samira Meis, Julian Alexander Sanner, and Polina Lehmann)

The Mergers & Acquisitions Litigation Review, Edition 3, Germany chapter, October 2022 (together with Samira Meis)

ZF Automotive v. Luxshare – Opinion of the Supreme Court of the United States,” Jus Mundi, July 25, 2022

U.S. Discovery in German Arbitrations and State Court Litigations After the U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision in ‘ZF Automotive US, Inc. v. Luxshare, Ltd.’ and ‘AlixPartners, LLC v. Fund for Protection of Investors’ Rights in Foreign States,’” Cleary Gottlieb Alert Memorandum, June 27, 2022

U.S. Supreme Court Denies Applicability of Section 1782 Discovery Statute With Respect to Private Commercial and Treaty Arbitrations,” Cleary Gottlieb Alert Memorandum, June 15, 2022 (with Jeffrey A. Rosenthal, Carmine D. Boccuzzi Jr., Ari D. MacKinnon, Nowell D. Bamberger, Jonathan I. Blackman, Boaz S. Morag, Katie Gonzalez, Christopher P. Moore, Paul Kleist, Till Hackstein, Laurie Achtouk-Spivak, Robert Garden, Ferdinando Emanuele, and Anna Chiara Amato)

Global Arbitration Review’s “Litigation 2022,” Germany chapter, June 6, 2022 (together with Patrick Gerardy)

The Mergers & Acquisitions Litigation Review, Edition 2, Germany chapter, December 2021 (together with Harry Nettlau)

“Wahl zwischen ordentlichem Gerichtsverfahren und Schiedsverfahren,” Beck’sches Rechtsanwaltshandbuch, 12th Edition, 2022, co-author with Elisabeth Macher

The Changing Landscape of Arbitration in Switzerland: Advent of the Swiss Arbitration Centre and the 2021 Swiss Rules Revision,” Cleary Gottlieb Alert Memorandum, June 17, 2021 (with Richard Kreindler, Zachary S. O’Dell, Harry Nettlau, Samira Meis, Carlo Santoro, Ferdinando Emanuele, Jean-Yves Garaud, Larisa Babiy, Christopher P. Moore)

Global Arbitration Review’s “Litigation 2021,” Germany chapter, June 29, 2021 (together with Patrick Gerardy)

The Revised Swiss International Arbitration Act – Key Changes and Developments,” Cleary Gottlieb Alert Memorandum, January 14, 2021 (with Richard Kreindler, Zachary S. O’Dell, Samira Meis, Carlo Santoro, Ferdinando Emanuele, Jean-Yves Garaud)

The Mergers & Acquisitions Litigation Review, Edition 1, Germany chapter, October 2020 (together with Harry Nettlau)

Internationale Schiedsgerichtsverfahren in Zeiten von COVID-19: Prozessuale Besonderheiten und Herangehensweise führender Schiedsinstitutionen,” Cleary Gottlieb Alert Memorandum, July 28, 2020 (with Richard Kreindler, Zachary O’Dell, Elisabeth Macher, and Harry Nettlau)

Global Arbitration Review’s “Litigation 2020,” Germany chapter, July 17, 2020 (together with Patrick Gerardy)

U.S. District Court Denies Section 1782 Discovery for Use in DIS Arbitration, Highlighting Deepening Circuit Split on Statute’s Applicability to Private Commercial Arbitrations,” Cleary Gottlieb Alert Memorandum, April 3, 2020 (together with Richard Kreindler, Zachary S. O’Dell, Christopher P. Moore Paul Kleist, and Ari D. MacKinnon)

New Coronavirus – Selected Legal Issues Under German Law,” Cleary Gottlieb Alert Memorandum, March 10, 2020 (together with Johannes Schmidt and Michael J. Ulmer)

BGH Rules That Violation of a Jurisdiction Agreement May Result in Liability for Counsel Fees,” Cleary Gottlieb Alert Memorandum, December 9, 2019 (together with Richard Kreindler, Harry Nettlau, Matthias Schrader, Johannes Schmidt, Elisabeth Macher, and Patrick Gerardy)

New EU Directive Strengthens Protection of Whistleblowers,” October 22, 2019 (together with Patrick Gerardy, Johannes Natus, J.F. Daniel Weyde, and Richard Kreindler)

Kartellrecht: Der kartellrechtliche Unternehmensbegriff – Anmerkungen zu EuGH – C-724/17, Vantaan kaupunki/Skanska Industrial Solutions Oy u.a., EuZW 2019, 374 (co-author Philipp Kirst)

“U.S. discovery für den deutschen Zivilprozess – eine unterschätzte Option,” February 19, 2019 (together with Richard Kreindler, Thomas Kopp, Zachary S. O’Dell, Harry Nettlau, and Patrick Gerardy)

“BGH erhöht Darlegungsanforderungen für Geschädigte in kartellrechtlichen Schadensersatzprozessen,” January 17, 2019 (together with Dirk Schroeder, Wolfgang Deselaers, Romina Polley, and Johannes Schmidt)

Apple v. EBizcuss.com: Agreeing A Forum For Your Antitrust Disputes,” Kluwer Arbitration Blog, December 25, 2018 (together with Aren Goldsmith and Paul Stuart)

“Die einstweilige Verfügung auf Herausgabe einer wettbewerbsbehördlichen Entscheidung – Plädoyer für eine Streichung des § 89b Abs. 5 GWB,” in: Kokott/Pohlmann/Polley (Hrsg.), Festschrift für Dirk Schroeder. Europäisches, deutsches und internationales Kartellrecht, Köln, 2018, S. 295-308

The BGH’s Achmea Decision: Arbitration Clauses in “Intra-EU BITs” Are Invalid,” November 30, 2018 (together with Claudia Annacker, Severin Klinkmüller, Thomas Kopp, Greg Lourie, Richard Kreindler, Matthias Schrader, and Patrick Gerardy)

The New German Act on a Collective Redress Mechanism for Consumer Claims,” November 6, 2018 (together with Thomas Kopp and Wiebke Holzapfel)

German Draft Bill for the Introduction of a Collective Redress Mechanism for Consumer Claims”, May 22, 2018 (together with Thomas Kopp and Wiebke Holzapfel)

New DIS Arbitration Rules as of March 1, 2018,” Cleary Gottlieb alert memo, February 21, 2018 (with Thomas Kopp, Matthias Schrader, Johannes Schmidt, and Patrick Gerardy)

“Gerichtsstand bei Kartellschadensersatzklagen”, in: Europäische Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftsrecht (EuZW), 15/2015, p. 584 et seq. (with Johannes Schmidt and Julian Sanner)

Germany Implements the EU Antitrust Damages Directive,” March 14, 2017 (together with Dirk Schroeder, Romina Polley, Mathis Rust and Julian Alexander Sanner)

“German Federal Constitutional Court Confirms Liberal View on Service of Process under Hague Convention,” January 7, 2016 (together with Richard Kreindler, Johannes Schmidt, and Sylvia DeTar)

“Wahl zwischen ordentlichem Gerichtsverfahren und Schiedsverfahren,” in: Beck’sches Rechtsanwaltshandbuch, 11. Auflage, 2016 (together with Richard Kreindler and Mathis Rust)

“Place of Jurisdiction in Cartel Damage Claims,” in: Europäische Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftsrecht (EuZW) 2015, p. 584 et. seq. (together with Dr. Julian Alexander Sanner and Dr. Johannes Schmidt)

“Court of Justice of the European Union Rules on Questions of International Jurisdiction in Cartel Damages Cases,” June 9, 2015 (together with Dirk Schroeder, Romina Polley, Elisabeth Macher, Johannes Schmidt, and Julian Alexander Sanner)

“Düsseldorf Court of Appeals Upholds Dismissal of CDC Damage Claims in Cartel Follow-on Action,” April 20, 2015 (together with Dirk Schroeder, Elisabeth Macher and Julian Alexander Sanner)

“Making a contribution. Contribution claims between German cartelists pose difficult questions”, in: Competition Law Insight, February 17, 2015, p. 14 et seq. (together with Elisabeth Macher)

“Die Beiziehung von Ermittlungsakten im Kartellzivilprozess – Möglichkeit zur Umgehung des Schutzes von Kronzeugenanträgen?”, in: Neue Zeitschrift für Kartellrecht (NZKart), 8/2014, p. 304 et seq. (together with Alex Petrasincu)

“Getting the information. Access to leniency documents in Germany”, in: Competition Law Insight, July 29, 2014, p. 14 et seq. (together with Alex Petrasincu)

“Nochmals: Intertemporale Verjährungsfragen bei kartellrechtlichen „follow-on” Schadensersatzansprüchen”, in: Neue Zeitschrift für Kartellrecht (NZKart), 5/2014, p. 175 et seq.

“Der Gerichtsstand des Sachzusammenhangs (Art. 6 Nr. 1 EuGVVO) bei kartellrechtlichen Schadenersatzklagen - Eine Analyse der neueren Rechtsprechung des EuGH”, in: Europäische Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftsrecht (EuZW), 4/2014, p. 129 et seq.

“Anwendbares Recht bei kartellrechtlichen Schadensersatzklagen in Altfällen”, in: Wirtschaft und Wettbewerb (WuW), 4/2014, p. 364 et seq. (together with Johannes Schmidt)

“European Parliament Passes Directive on Antitrust Follow-on Damages Actions,” April 17, 2014 (together with Thomas Buhl and Elisabeth Macher)

“Düsseldorf Court Dismisses CDC Damage Claims in Antitrust Follow-on Action,” January 8, 2014 (together with Thomas Buhl and Elisabeth Macher)

“Nochmals: Anspruch des gewerblichen Mieters auf Schutz vor sommerlicher Hitze?”, in: Zeitschrift für Miet- und Raumrecht (ZMR), 2007, p. 432 et seq.

“Mechanische Kühlung als ’Hitzeschutz’ für gewerbliche Mieter?”, in: Neue Zeitung für Miet- und Wohnrecht (NZM), 2005, p. 441 et seq.

“Die ’doppelte’ Festsetzung zur Mängelbeseitigung - wirksames Instrument oder rechtliches nullum?”, in: Baurecht (BauR), 2004, p. 745 et seq.

“Keine Prozesskostenhilfe für den Insolvenzverwalter?”, in: Insolvenz und Vollstreckung (InVo), 2000, p. 41 et seq.

“Die Erstattungsfähigkeit von Sanierungskosten für den Käufer eines kontaminierten Grundstücks”, in: Neue Juristische Wochenschrift (NJW), 1999, p. 3668 et seq.