Why and how to register a trademark in Switzerland

Trademark applications in Switzerland must be filed with the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IGE in German, IPI in French). Please keep in mind that Switzerland is NOT a member of the European Union and therefore European Union trademarks do NOT provide protection in Switzerland.

Switzerland is a member state to the Madrid Protocol. Thus, the extension of an international registration of a trademark via the Madrid System is possible for this country. For further information regarding our services for trademark filing through the Madrid System click here.

Please note that by default your logo (device) application in Switzerland will be filed without color claim. If you wish to claim color as a distinctive feature of the trademark, please instruct us to do so.

If you register a combined trademark (which includes both word elements and figurative elements) in Switzerland, the exclusive right to use the trademark is limited to a use of the trademark is limited to a use of the trademark in the exact configuration or way in which it was filed and registered. If you wish to use the word element of your trademark separately from the logo (or vice versa), it is recommended you register for another trademark including only the word or figurative elements you wish to use and protect separately.

Nevertheless, if a third party eventually intends to register or use a trademark for similar goods or services that includes a primary or distinct part or portion of your trademark, you will have the right to oppose the application based on confusing similarity. Probabilities of success for an opposition will vary in each case depending on the circumstances.

After the application is filed the Swiss trademarks office will proceed to examine it. Note that it does not check the existence of identical or confusingly similar filed or registered trademarks. If the trademark is accepted it will be registered and a certificate issued, and at the same time published for opposition for a period of 3 months during which interested third parties may file oppositions against it.

Although it is not necessary to use the trademark for it to register, it must be used within a period of 5 years since the last use, otherwise it will become vulnerable to cancellation for non-use. The amount of use in Switzerland must be on a commercial scale.

A trademark registered in Switzerland has a validity of ten years from the application date. It must then be renewed for additional ten-year periods. The renewal can be requested as early as 12 months before the expiration date and there is a 6-month grace period after that date when the trademark can still be renewed subject to the payment of additional fees.

If you would like for the figurative or design elements of your trademark to be considered when assessing your trademark for registration in Switzerland (Trademark Search Report), contact us directly in order to determine if we may be able to offer this in this jurisdiction. In such cases, prices for service and estimated delivery times may vary.

In Switzerland, the Alcohol Act regulates the use of registered trademarks in advertisements for spirits and, among others, prohibits the use of a spirit’s trademark on packaging or consumer goods that are not related to spirits. 

The Swiss federal trademarks office prohibits the use of the Swiss emblems of sovereignty, among which the Swiss cross and the cantonal coats-of-arms, in trademarks registered for goods. They may be used for service marks.

In Switzerland, only a digital copy of the trademark certificate will be issued.

 

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