A brand is very valuable. Today, when there are products and services of almost everything on the planet, a distinction apart from the same quality is necessary. That distinction can only be drawn with the help of visible hints that separates a particular product apart from the crowd.
Apart from distinction, branding is mainly done for displaying the value of a company, build trust with its customers worldwide and shape its image further in the global market. So, naturally, there must also be trademark protection laws in place to protect such essential assets when there are trademarks.
As soon as a trademark has been registered, a third party can't make use of the protected trademark or a trademark that looks similar. Different trademark laws in every country protect the interests of the companies.
Trademark registration is one of the most crucial things that an investor must do after offshore company registration in Switzerland. Negligence of application of trademark will give you almost no legal enforceability in the future if someone tries to maliciously make use of the goodwill you have created in the market.
Two legislations mainly govern the protection of trademarks in Switzerland:
- 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)
What is Trademark?
A trademark is a legally protected visible sign that distinguishes a company's products or services from those of other companies. All graphical representations of a sign can, in principle, be a trademark within the meaning of the law, for example, 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.
Who can apply for a Trademark in Switzerland?
A natural or legal person may file a trademark application. Suppose an applicant is not domiciled in Switzerland or they don't possess a registered address in Switzerland. In that case, such an address is needed to be generated before applying for a trademark.
Steps for Registering A Trademark in Switzerland
1. Searching the database
The first and foremost thing you should do is do a thorough search to avoid consequential infringement disputes in the future. There is always a chance that what you are trying to register is already existing in the market.
The primary objective is to ensure that similar or identical trademarks do not already exist, this search is not a legal procedure, but it is always recommended to do your research beforehand.
2. Trademark Application
To commence your trademark registration, you must fill an electronic form present on Switzerland's official websites. There is a nominal deposit fee of 550 CHF to start the registration process.
Once the fee has been paid, 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. For example- a trademark must not be deceptive or descriptive, meaning that the trademark must not describe the product or service, and it should also not lead a customer to erroneous assumptions.
4. Status of Application
Your application will be published on the government's official website, from where you can check the status of your application at any time.
5. Registration and Publication
Suppose the application is found to be satisfactory and unproblematic. In that case, 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 starts once the registration has been published. In the three-month period of opposition, which begins from the date of the publication on the Swiss Registry, owners of an earlier trademark can file to oppose your trademark if they think 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.
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