The Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI) is responsible for registering trademarks in Switzerland.
Overview of Trademark Registration in Switzerland
As per The Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI), a trademark can be defined as a legally protected visible sign that distinguishes the products or services of a company from those of other companies. All graphical representations of a sign can, in principle, be a trademark within the meaning of the law, such as words, combinations of letters, numbers, graphic images, three-dimensional forms, slogans, combinations of these elements, or even sound trademarks, which are made up of a sequence of notes.
Laws Governing Trademark Registration in Switzerland
The laws that govern trademark registration in Switzerland are
- The Federal Act on the Protection of Trade Marks and Indications of Source
- Trade Mark Protection Act (TmPA)
- The Federal Ordinance on the Protection of Trade Marks and Indications of Source
- Trade Mark Protection Ordinance (TmPO)
Who can apply for a Trademark in Switzerland?
An application for trademark registration in Switzerland can be filed by a natural or legal person. In case the applicant is not domiciled in Switzerland or they don't possess a registered address in Switzerland, such an address is needed to be generated before applying for a trademark.
Eligible Marks for Trademark Registration in Switzerland
Marks that are graphically reproducible and marks that enable a product/service to be distinguished from its counterparts can be registered:
- Trade dress
- Shapes with 3 dimensions
The following marks are prohibited from getting registered:
- Marks which are contradictory with moral principles or marks that threaten public order
- Common words with broad meaning
- Marks that don’t display distinctiveness
- Marks that primarily act as names of geographic locations
- Marks that use names/flags/symbols or regions/nations/states/international organizations
Documents Required for Trademark Registration in Switzerland
The documents required when filing for trademark registration in Switzerland are:
- Apower of attorney, if the procedure is conducted by any attorney or agent apart from the applier of the trademark;
- A trademark registration applicationform duly complete;
- A photo depicting the trademark;
- A copy of the applicant's identification papers.
Procedure for Trademark Registration in Switzerland
The procedure for trademark registration in Switzerland is elaborated below -
The first and foremost for trademark registration in Switzerland is conducting a thorough search of trademarks to avoid consequential infringement disputes in the future, as there can always be a chance that what the entrepreneur intends to register is already existing in the market.
The primary objective of conducting the trademark search is ensuring that similar or identical trademarks do not already exist. It is always recommended to do your research beforehand.
Filing the Trademark Application
In order to commence the trademark registration, the applicant must fill out an application present on Switzerland's official websites and pay the requisite fees.
Upon the filing of the application and payment of the fees, the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI) will check the application for any sort of deficiency. A trademark will only be registrable when it is in compliance with all the trademark laws set in place by the government.
Check the Status of the Application
The trademark application will be published by The Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI); the applicant can check the status of their application at any time.
Registration and Publication
If the application is found to be satisfactory and unproblematic, the IPI will register the application in the Swiss Trademark Register and publish it in the Official Gazette of Commerce (SOGC).
There is also a three-month period of opposition that commences upon the publication of registration, wherein the owners of an earlier trademark can file to oppose your trademark if they are of the opinion that there is an infringement that is occurring due to your trademark. A thorough investigation is done in that case, and depending on the result, you will be allowed or not allowed to have a right upon your trademark.
Renewal of Trademark Registration in Switzerland
The validity of trademark registration in Switzerland is 10 years. The first renewal should take place on the 10th year from the date the application was filed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. Not using the trademarks after registration makes the trademarks vulnerable to nullity action.
No. The territorial limit of your mark’s protection is Switzerland only.
Yes. Switzerland uses the Nice Classification system. A single application will cover multiple classes of goods/services.
No. It is illegal to use any unregistered mark for business.