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Trademark Renewal
In Switzerland in order to maintain the validity of a trademark registration you must renew it every 10 years. The renewal process is fairly simple, you will need to provide trademark registration details and send us a power of attorney.
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Applications are handled by experienced local Trademark Attorneys to ensure that all legal requirements are met.
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If your trademark application is rejected, our Attorneys will inform you and advise you on the best course of action.
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A dedicated Account Manager will act as your point of contact for all communications.
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You can use our admin panel to track and review the current status of any service you have requested.
 Frequently Asked Questions
Trademark Registration
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Is there a time frame for the trademark registration approval?

The average time frame for the registration approval is 4 months, if no objections or oppositions arise.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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
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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: https://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
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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
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Does Switzerland use the "Nice Classification" system?

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

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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
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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What is the web address of the trademark national office?

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

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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.

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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
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Who can contest my trademark registration?

Owners of a similar mark that was registered earlier.

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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
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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
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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.

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Is Switzerland a member of the Madrid System?

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

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Do I need to present periodic statement of use?

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

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When should I renew my trademark?

Renewals of registration must be made every 10 years.

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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.

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

No documentation is necessary for renewing a trademark.

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

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

Basic Questions
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What is a trademark?

A trademark identifies a company’s products and services and distinguishes them from those of its competitors in the market. The name (the verbal element) is not the only component of a trademark—figurative elements such as logos, design, images, colors, and sounds also create an identity that can be protected by trademark registration.

With the registration, the owner (person or company) becomes the owner of the trademark. The registration is given for a particular country/territory, for certain products or services, and for a specific term. While the registration is in force, only the owner may use the trademark in the market where the trademark is registered.

 Some symbols to consider:

® Means the trademark is registered.

TM Some countries use this trademark symbol to show that the trademark has been filed at the trademark office and is still undergoing the registration process.

SM Some countries use this service mark symbol to show that the service mark has been filed at the trademark office and is still undergoing the registration process.

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What is the difference between a trademark, patent and copyright ?

You can lay claim to your work in many ways. Trademarks, patents, and copyrights offer protection to intellectual property owners. A trademark helps people find your goods and services. When recognized as a registered mark, it protects your right to exclusively use the image, logo, phrases, or words to distinguish your goods or services from others in the market.

patent safeguards ideas and inventions. It gives a creator or inventor exclusive rights that prevent other people from making, using, or profiting in any way from an invention or creative innovation without the consent of the inventor.

You cannot patent an idea alone (otherwise we’d all be doing it). You must materialize your concept into a tangible invention, innovative product, device, or process that offers new solutions to an existing problem.

Copyright protects all types of original published, performed, and printed creative works of art, literature, and music. It prevents people from using, reproducing, or distributing copyrighted works without the permission of the artist, author, composer, etc. Types of work covered by copyright protection include:

  1. a) artwork (2 or 3 dimensional),
  2. b) photographs, graphic drawings, and designs as well as other forms of creativity;
  3. c) songs, music, and sound recordings of all kinds;
  4. d) books, manuscripts, publications, and another written work; and
  5. e) plays, movies, shows, and other performance arts.

 

Trademarks, patents, and copyrights are all examples of ways you can protect your intellectual property. Your rights to control and benefit from your efforts are increasingly important in our global economy. Registering a formal claim to your property is a critical step in protecting what you own.

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What is the difference between TM, SM, ® and other symbols?

The symbol of a circled letter R after a trademark name or graphic image means that the preceding trademark has been registered. Various typographic symbols indicate copyrights and patents. The presence or absence of a symbol does not change the validity of the registration, but the best practice is to use circle‑R or circle‑C for copyrights every time you mention your intellectual property in print. These symbols give legal grounds for claiming damages in trademark litigation. The following is a list of some typical marks you can use on a web page, in written content, or even in a marketing letter.

  • TM: The TM or trademark symbol indicates an unregistered trademark for one of 34 different classes of products. Owners use this symbol to claim the preceding name or logo as the Trademark of their product.
  • SM: The SM or service mark symbol is similar to the TM symbol except it indicates a claim to a mark for a service (one of 11 classes of service) rather than a tangible product.
  • ®: Use the ® symbol once you’ve registered your trademark or service mark. It shows that the country authority has approved the registration.
  • ©: Use the © symbol to indicate copyrighted material. The copyright notice should appear on the material as Copyright © followed by the date the work was created, the copyright owner’s name, a period, and finally “All Rights Reserved.” Like this: Copyright © 2021, John Smith. All Rights Reserved. Use it whether the copyright has been registered or not.
  • Patent Pending: The phrase Patent Pending shows that you filed a patent application but cannot guarantee the application's approval.
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What are trademark classes?

Trademark Offices around the world use classes to divide commercial products and services into defined categories.  When you apply for your trademark to protect your brand, you must define the class or classes that you believe best describe your business activity. 

Countries around the world have standardized 45 classes (34 for products and 11 for services) for international use under the Nice International Classification.

These classes group all known products and services. If applicable, you can register the same trademark in more than one class; for example, you may register the trademark KING for computers in class 23 and register the same trademark in class 24 for cosmetics. 

Trademark protection only extends to commercial use within your specified classes.  It is, therefore, possible for two entities conducting business in different classes to use identical or similar trademarks and for each entity to enjoy full trademark protection in their respective classes. If you feel that protection should extend to include more than one class, you can choose multiple classes under which to conduct business.

You can search for your trademark class with this Trademark Class Search tool.

Trademark Search
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Why do I need to perform a trademark search?

Once you have a product or service and think you have a name for it, how do you know you can use it as your own? What happens if you unintentionally use a registered trademark name? 

Too many people use a name without knowing whether or not they have the legal right to do so. They organize massive marketing campaigns with names they later find they’re not allowed to use. Performing a comprehensive search before deciding which trademark to register is a wise thing to do, especially when you consider future risks of litigation.  

It is a good idea to carry out some research before starting to do business with a trademark. It may not be in your best interest to use a mark if another company is already actively conducting business in the same class.  The other company may object to you using the trademark and legally prohibit you from doing so.

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Do I need an Attorney to perform a Trademark Search?

No, you don’t, but if you have little or no experience dealing with trademarks, we suggest you seek professional help. Our company offers a Comprehensive Trademark Study service. The Study gives you details of the classes in which you might want to register your trademark; it also lists identical and similar trademarks, and finally, you get an Attorney's recommendation about registration possibilities and use of your trademark.

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Where can I perform a trademark search?

If you know a little about trademark registration, you can search using any online trademark search tool. If not, we recommend that you hire a trademark attorney or trademark service like Nominus.com to handle your trademark registration requirements, especially the trademark search because the process is complex and relatively time consuming.

Please note that if you don’t manage to complete the application process correctly, the registration can drag on for several months and end up costing far more than you intended to pay. The trademark search is a critical part of the process.

A broad trademark search is essential in today's marketplace, given the increasing number of unregistered and common law trademarks. Globalization also raises the question of entering international markets and registering trademarks in foreign countries to protect both your brand and your property rights.

Please note that even a completed comprehensive trademark search does not necessarily guarantee your trademark will be accepted and registered. A  Comprehensive Trademark Study includes an extended review process and, more significantly, a formal evaluation of the likelihood that your application will be successful.

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