Trademark Search in Switzerland

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Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a time frame for filing for a trademark registration?

The average time frame for applications that undergo regular prosecution (no oppositions are filed) is less than 6 months. Fast-track is automatically granted for applications that are obviously qualified without any absolute ground for refusal. In this case, the time frame will be shortened from 6 months to a few weeks.

If I register my trademark in Switzerland, do I have protection in other territories?

No. The territorial limit of your mark’s protection is Switzerland only.

Do I need to sign a Power of Attorney?

No. Power of attorney is not mandatory; however, this will be needed if the applicant wants to change attorney.

Are there any benefits from a pre-filing use of the trademark?

Yes. It will help you demonstrate the mark’s distinctiveness and win against oppositions on the ground of non-distinctiveness. However, the benefits from pre-filing use are limited, minimal and applicable only in exceptional cases. Using an unregistered mark in Switzerland is actually risky than beneficial.

Will there be problems in case I don’t use my trademark after registration?

Yes. Owners that do not use their trademark after registration are making their marks vulnerable to nullity action.

What are the types of trademark that can be registered in Switzerland?

Marks that are graphically reproducible and marks that enable a product/service to be distinguished from its counterparts can be registered:

  • Names
  • Words
  • Sounds
  • Taste
  • Motions
  • Touch
  • Smell/scent
  • Colour
  • Slogan
  • Devices
  • Trade dress
  • Hologram
  • Shapes with 3 dimensions
What are the phases of application after a trademark has been filed in Switzerland?

There are three phases of trademark application. 

  1. Examination – The Trademark Office will examine the application based on formalities, deceptiveness, descriptiveness, clarity and distinctiveness. Compliance is extremely important to avoid refusal.
  2. Registration – All applications will go through the prosecution stage where challenges and oppositions must be overcome. Once the opposing parties are defeated or if there are no opposing parties, the registration will be granted.
  3. Publication – The particulars will be made accessible to the public. It will be posted on the official Swiss online register database: http://www.swissreg.ch/.
    • Mark and the good/service it represents
    • Name and address of applicant
    • Number of application and its date
    • Information about priority claim
    • Trademark representation
What type of trademark is not registrable?

The following marks are prohibited from getting registered: 

  • Marks that are contradictory with moral principles or marks that threaten public order
  • Common words with broad meaning
  • Marks that do not display distinctiveness
  • Marks that primarily act as names of geographic locations
  • Marks that use names/flags/symbols or regions/nations/states/international organizations
Does Switzerland use the "Nice Classification" system?

Yes. Switzerland uses the Nice Classification system. A single application will cover multiple classes of goods/services.

Is there any possibility to claim priority in Switzerland?

Yes. The filing date in your home country can be claimed as the date of filing in Switzerland if these requirements are met: 

  • Your home country is a member of the World Trade Organization or a signatory of the Paris Convention
  • The date of the home application does not exceed 6 months from the date of filing in Switzerland
  • International registration can be based in Switzerland
What do I need to do to satisfy the use requirement?

For national registration: 

  • five years from the date the opposition term has expired - if no oppositions arise
  • five years from the date the opposition proceeding was terminated – if oppositions arise 

For international registration: 

  • five years from the publication date when the Swiss Trademark Office granted the definite protection 

The trademark must be used for selling or marketing purposes. It must be used in Switzerland. Use in Germany is also acceptable based on the provisions of the Swiss-German treaty.

Once my trademark has been registered, for how many years will be valid?

The term of a registered mark is 10 years from the date of application.

What will be the renewal date of my trademark?

The first renewal should take place on the 10th year from the date the application was filed.

Is it legal to use my trademark even if it is not yet registered?

No. It is illegal to use any unregistered mark for business.

Does having a registered trademark in Switzerland give me any right?

Yes. It is necessary to register your trademark in order to enjoy rights. The first-to-file rule applies in the Swiss Trademark law. There are exceptions to this rule. Consult us for further details.

What is the web address of the trademark national office?

You may access the national office online by visiting this link: http://www.ipi.ch/

Is there any need to use my trademark before I apply for registration?

No. This jurisdiction does not require actual use or intent to use before application.

Can a Trademark Application be opposed?

Yes. The following are acceptable grounds for opposition: 

  • Proprietary rights are violated, i.e., a similar mark was registered earlier
  • Rights of well-known marks are violated
Who can contest my trademark registration?

Owners of a similar mark that was registered earlier.

Is it possible to cancel a registration?

Yes. This jurisdiction allows cancellation of registered marks on the following grounds: 

  • mark is contrary to Switzerland’s principles of morality
  • mark is contrary or a threat to public order
  • mark is consisting of a geographical indication
  • mark is functional, misleading, descriptive, disparaging, deceptive or non-distinctive
  • mark violated proprietary rights
  • there is breach of copyright
  • there is violation against the rights of a registered design, personal name and/or company name
  • there is violation against the rights of notorious or famous mark
  • there is unauthorized use of especially protected flags, emblems or armorial bearings
Are there any rights established by having a registered trademark?

Yes. Owners of a registered mark in Switzerland obtain the following rights: 

  • Exclusive rights to use and make profits from the mark
  • Right to object to conflicting applications that are filed at a later date
  • Right to request for cancellation against conflicting registrations
  • Right to take legal action against third parties for infringement
  • Right to be given damages for infringement
  • Right to request for seizure of fake goods
  • Right to give license to other businesses to use the mark
How long is the opposition period?

Opposition period for national registration starts on the date the registration is published. For international registration, opposition period starts on the 1st day of the month after the International Registration is published in the WIPO Gazette.

Is Switzerland a member of the Madrid System?

Yes, Switzerland is a member of the Madrid Agreement and Madrid Protocol.

Do I need to present periodic statement of use?

No, trademark owners are not required to submit periodic statement of use.

When should I renew my trademark?

Renewals of registration must be made every 10 years.

What will be the renewal date of my trademark?

The first renewal should take place on the 10th year from the date the application was filed.

Is there any documentation that should be presented when renewing a trademark?

No documentation is necessary for renewing a trademark.

If my trademark expires, do I have a grace period?

Yes. You have 6 months from the expiry date to renew your trademark.

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