Local and foreign citizens and companies seeking to have their intellectual property creations protected can do that be registering their rights in Switzerland. Trademark registration is one of the most sought procedures in Switzerland especially in the case of innovative companies which rely on the uniqueness of the products or services they offer.
If you are interested in the enhanced protection of your rights, our law firm in Switzerland can assist with the registration of a trademark. The procedure is also explained below.
The Swiss legislation for the protection of trademarks
The main legal framework protecting trademarks in Switzerland is the Trade Mark Protection Act. According to the Swiss Trade Mark Protection Act, all signs can be used as trademarks as long as they can be graphically represented and they are employed to distinguish goods and services from other goods and services available on the Swiss market.
Trade Mark Protection Act
Types of trademarks
Generic, individual, collective trademarks, 3-D trademarks, names, logos, etc.
Special registration for foreigners (YES/NO)
NO, foreigners do need to meet special requirements to register trademarks in Switzerland
Possibility to register domain name as a trademark (YES/NO)
YES, e-commerce and other online companies can file for trademark registration in Switzerland
Online registration possibility (YES/NO)
YES, applications can be filed online
Trademark examination duration (approx.)
The maximum period for examination is 6 months
Special requirements to register a trademark in Switzerland
The application can be filed in French, German, or Italian
Trademark registration timeframe (approx.)
It takes between 12 and 18 to register a trademark in Switzerland
Validity of registered trademark
A trademark has a validity period of 10 years
The trademark renewal application must be filed at least 6 months before expiry. Renewal will be valid for another 10 years
International recognition of Swiss trademark (YES/NO)
YES, Swiss trademarks are recognized in other countries
Fast-track registration procedure available (YES/NO)
YES, it is possible to register a trademark through a fast-track procedure against a fee
YES, our law firm in Switzerland offers trademark registration services
Other IP-rights services availability (YES/NO)
Our Swiss lawyers offer support in filing trademark oppositions, renewing trademarks, assistance in IP-related litigation cases
The legislation for the protection of trademarks in Switzerland allows letters, numbers, words, images, slogans, colors and any combination of these to be used as trademarks. Trademarks in Switzerland benefit from 10-year protection after the registration and can be renewed on an indefinite term. It is important to know that the representatives of the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property will verify the application in a period of six working days. Our team of attorneys in Switzerland can offer an in-depth presentation on the requirements of the institution.
Investors can also register three-dimensional trademarks or the company’s slogans. One of the main reason for which why an investor should register a trademark in Switzerland relates to the fact that the procedure will provide full ownership for the respective sign, as the company will have exclusive rights to use it for commercial purposes.
The registration will avoid various conflicts which can appear when another company may use the same sign or a trademark similar with the one that has already been registered.
Our lawyers in Switzerland will guide you through the trademark registration procedure. We can also answer any question related to trademark registration in Switzerland.
Registrable trademarks in Switzerland
According to the Swiss legislation, in order to obtain a Certificate of Registration, a trademark must meet certain requirements. Among these, the law states that it must be able to represent the goods or services provided by a company or even an individual in a way that they can be distinguished from other goods or services. There are no restrictions related to the form or characteristics of a Swiss trademark, as long as it is not offensive or similar to previously registered trademarks.
There are several types of trademarks that can be registered in Switzerland and our lawyers can offer more information on them. The registration of a trademark in this country is made with the Federal Office of Intellectual Property.
Our lawyers can offer more information on trademark registration in Switzerland.
Trademark categories in Switzerland
Swiss trademarks can be divided into three categories:
• collective trademarks;
If the individual trademark is used to distinguish the products of a Swiss company, the collective trademark is employed to represent the products of an association of companies. The guarantee trademark is employed to represent products with certain properties or qualities.
Trademark registration in Switzerland is also based on classed of good and services. During the registration procedure, the applicant will be required to specify the respective class of products. An important aspect investors should take into consideration is that in the case in which the registered trademark will not be used within a period of five years after the registration, the investor could lose the rights given through this procedure. Our Swiss lawyers can give you more details about the rules and regulations regarding the trademark registration procedure and can offer you legal assistance through the entire process.
How to verify a trademark before registration in Switzerland
Before starting the trademark registration procedure in Switzerland, it is good to have the mark checked. The verification can be made directly with the Federal Office of Intellectual Property and can imply:
verifying if the trademark is unique compared to other similar trademarks;
checking if the trademark is not offensive in accordance with the Swiss legislation;
making sure the trademark is correctly represented (its graphic representation or a photo must be filed upon registration);
making sure the application file is complete and checking the fees to be paid upon registration.
These are simple steps to complete before trademark registration in Switzerland and they can ensure a faster process.
Our Swiss lawyers can handle such procedures on behalf of clients. Moreover, it is no longer required to give a notarized power of attorney when filing for trademark registration, as a simple power of attorney will suffice.
What is the procedure for trademark registration in Switzerland?
In order to register a trademark in Switzerland there are few steps to be followed:
•the Swiss Federal Office of Intellectual Property will verify the application.
Once the verification of the trademark is completed, the Federal Office of Intellectual Property will publish the trademark in the Official Gazette allowing any individual or company to file an opposition for the registration of the Swiss trademark. If no one opposes the registration, the Federal Office of Intellectual Property will issue the trademark registration certificate.
Switzerland provides a relatively simple and straightforward procedure. In the situations in which the trademark applications respect all the legal requirements, the procedure can be completed within six days, after the investors pay the fees.
But as a general rule, trademarks in Switzerland can be registered in a period of three months (after the payment of the applicable fees). For additional information on trademark registration in Switzerland and the fees associated with it, you can ask our lawyers.
Trademark registration as a foreign entity in Switzerland
Foreign citizens and companies can file for trademark registration in Switzerland without too much hassle. The application can be filed in one of the three official languages in Switzerland – German, Italian or French – and without the need of coming here. Even if they are no longer required to appoint a local agent, they can use the services of alaw firm in Switzerland who can offer assistance and updates during the entire procedure.
Trademark registration in Switzerland has been simplified in the last few years and foreign citizens or companies are only required to submit proof of a residential, respectively, legal address in the country.
Foreign business owners who need proof of a Swiss address can rely on us for virtual office services. The virtual office can be used for the trademark registration procedure in Switzerland.
What are the documents to be submitted for Swiss trademark registration?
The documents required when filing for trademark registration in Switzerland are:
•a power of attorney, if the procedure is conducted by someone else than the owner of the trademark;
•a trademark registration application form duly complete;
•a photo depicting the trademark;
• a copy on the applicant’s identification papers.
How to Create a Unique Trademark in Switzerland
One of the key aspects of any business is to create a unique trademark, which can be easily recognized by the general public and easily associated with the products or services it represents. The Swiss legislation imposes several regulations when referring to the uniqueness of a trademark and businessmen who want to open a company in Switzerland should study on this issue in order to create an eligible sign. Our team of lawyers can provide assistance on the steps required for trademark registration in Switzerland and can also help you open a GmbH in Switzerland or any other type of company.
Distinctive trademark in Switzerland
Entrepreneurs who want to operate on the Swiss market should create a distinctive trademark, which should respect the following characteristics:
• descriptive words can’t be used for products or services which are directly correlated with those particular words, but they can be used for a field which is not related with the meaning of the words;
• a common word from the language can be used for the field it describes as long as the businessman adds another word next to it, such as his or her name.
It is necessary to know that these rules are applicable for all the three national languages available in Switzerland and it also includes the English descriptive language.
Persons interested in receiving more details on how to create a unique trademark in Switzerland can address to our team of Swiss lawyers for advice.
Trademark registration timeline in Switzerland
The registration of a trademark in Switzerland takes less time to complete compared to other European jurisdictions.
The following timeline can be considered when filing an application for trademark registration in Switzerland:
the usual registration procedure of a trademark takes around 6 months to complete;
a fast-track procedure of only 2 months is also available against an additional fee;
the trademark has a 10-year validity period and can be renewed for another 10;
the renewal of a trademark can be done within 12 months, but no less than 6 months before expiration.
Our lawyers can offer more information on the duration of the trademark registration procedure in Switzerland. The video below also shows the registration process:
FAQ on trademark registration in Switzerland
Is it possible to register a Swiss trademark at EU level?
Yes, it is possible to obtain protection of a Swiss trademark at EU level, as Switzerland has signed various international agreements, including with the EU.
How long does it take to register a trademark in Switzerland?
Trademark registrationin Switzerland takes around 6 months provided that no opposition is filed.
If the first trademark registration application was refused, how long do I have to file a new application?
On the grounds of provisional refusal, a new application for trademark registration must be filed within 5 months.
What happens if I don’t use the trademark?
If a registered trademark is not used, it will be cancelled after 5 years.
Paul Gheorghiu has more than twenty years of experience in business matters and he can help you open a company in Switzerland as fast a possible. Call us at +41 41 266 0070 for any legal issue you may deal with in Switzerland.