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Overview of appellations of origin and geographical indications in Switzerland in light of the forthcoming ratification of the Geneva Act

Geographical indications (GIs) and appellations of origin (AOs) protect the names of products for which the quality or the reputation is linked to a specific area. Their registration allows to prevent them from becoming generic or misused, which could not only harm the local producers through unfair competition, but also mislead consumers as to where the goods come from. The way of protecting GIs differs significantly from country to country. In Switzerland, there is a sui generis right system in place. In addition, parliamentary work is under way for the future ratification of the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement on AOs and GIs which would allow to register them through the international procedure at WIPO.


Revision to the Swiss Copyright Act

The growth of the Internet and rapid changes to technology in the digital world have led to creative content being produced, distributed and accessed in myriad new ways. Copyright rules had therefore to adapt to today’s frame. For this reason, the Swiss authorities revised the Federal Act on Copyright and Related Rights, which entered into force on 1st April 2020. The main amendments relate to online anti-piracy fight, photographs, performer’s rights, entitlement to digital use in the fields of research, education and cultural heritage, collective remuneration for audiovisual works and the creation of extended collective licences.


The challenge of protecting shape marks in Switzerland

The obtaining of trademark rights over the shape of a product or its packaging remains extremely difficult in many jurisdictions. Switzerland is no exception. The distinctiveness standards are very high, unless a secondary meaning can be shown through a consumer survey. This approach aims to avoid unfair monopolies which could restrict competition. But the question remains of the inherent ability of some of these signs to identify a company and consequently, fulfill the trademark purpose and deserve the corresponding protection.


A trademark, for what purpose?

Are you wondering about the benefits of having a specific name for your offering?  You might also question the purpose of trademark searches, and the point of filing a trademark for this name. You will find some answers and food for thought in this factsheet (in French only). Intellectual property comes at a cost but is a success vector. Don't miss it.


Benefits of securing trademark rights over business names

Only a few companies think about protecting their business names through a trademark. Yet, combining the recordal of commercial name with trademark rights prove to be a good strategy to better defend the name of the company and thus its identity. 


Trademark protection of geographical names in Switzerland

Many brands contain a term or a logo in relation to a geographical place. These brands often fail to get registered as trademarks in Switzerland. A strict examination approach is followed which, however, has been relaxed a little over the last years.


Apple lost against Swatch and its tagline Tick Different

In a decision of March 15, 2019 (B-5334/2016), the Federal Administrative Court of Switzerland dismissed Apple's claim against Swatch's trademark "Tick Different" for watch products in class 14. Apple did not hold prior trademark rights in its tagline "Think Different" in class 14 and relied on the US unregistered mark arguing that is was notorious. However, the Court found that this tagline was not sufficiently known in Switzerland. The decision highlights the importance of trademark protection and the strength of evidence of use.


The Art of Trademark Use

The trademark must be used properly to prevent it from becoming generic  which, in turn, would make it  more difficult to defend or result in the loss of all protection. Follow our guidelines on proper use and read our recommendations to ensure that your exclusive rights remain in force and that you maintain your competitive advantage in the marketplace.


IP checklist

Use our checklist for a concise overview of the steps to take concerning your IP at each stage of the life cycle of your product or service. Depending on where your project stands, it will help you to know what you should think about and the nature of the support that Sedin can give you for a successful launch.


Exporting to the US, what you need to know about trademarks

When launching your products or services in the US market, make sure your brand does not violate third-party rights and protect it – the earlier, the better. This article gives you advice on which specific considerations must be taken into account for the registration, use, display of the trademark symbol and licensing of your trademark in this country.


The Art of Trademark Searching

Before any launch of a new trademark or entering a new market, proper trademark searches are vital. Otherwise, you risk violating the rights of a third party, which could seriously damage the reputation and activities of your company.  Defining the type and scope of the search will depend on the project and requires a cost-benefit analysis in consultation with intellectual property experts.


Specificities of Design Protection in Switzerland

One-page overview of the main features of the design protection in Switzerland, from filing up to registration.


Specificities of Trademark Protection in Switzerland

One-page overview of the main features of the trademark protection in Switzerland, from filing up to registration.


Exporting to China, what you need to know about trademarks

If you contemplate doing business in China, do not forget to register your brand name in a Chinese version, use the unique copyright registration system to secure proof of your creation and enforce your intellectual property protection by way of customs registrations. Find these and more tips in our article.


Why checking the availability of my trademark is important ?

Because your brand is an asset of your company, which allows you to convey values, know-how, history and commitment to your clients, you should make sure that it is available for use in order to avoid any litigation with third parties who could claim prior rights.


How to check the availability of my trademark in several countries at the lowest cost ?

Check if my trademark is available on a global scale but with limited budget? It is possible!


Why should my trademarks be watched?

You got your trademark registered and secured exclusive rights. Ensure to protect and defend it against copies. Watch the trademarks filed by competitors and their uses so you can act in case of infringement of your rights.