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Filing and registration

Filing procedure

Do agents filing for registration of a mark on behalf of the owner require power of attorney? If so, is notarisation or legalisation required?

In general, no power of attorney is needed for the filing of a trademark application. However, in individual cases and opposition proceedings, the Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI) may request the filing of a written power of attorney. 

What information and documentation must be submitted in a trademark registration application?

The applicant must provide the following information:

  • a registration application with details of the applicant's (company) name;
  • a graphical representation of the trademark; and
  • a list of goods and services for which protection is claimed.

If the applicant wants to claim priority, further information must be provided.

The IPI has created a form containing all of the necessary information, which is available on its website.

What rules govern the representation of the mark in the application?

The trademark must be represented in a graphic form. Depending on the type of mark, further information may be required (eg, an indication that it is a three-dimensional mark or a Pantone code for colours).

Are multi-class applications allowed?

Yes. The basic application fee covers three classes. 

Is electronic filing available?

Yes, the IPI offers such services. 

What are the application fees?

The registration fee for a 10-year trademark is Sfr550, which covers three classes of goods and services. An additional fee of Sfr100 is due for each additional class. An accelerated examination costs Sfr400. Agents’ or attorneys’ fees must also be paid.

Priority

How are priority rights claimed?

Priority is claimed in a trademark application or within 30 days from filing the application. The applicant must state the country of first registration and the application's filing date and file a priority declaration within six months.

Searches

Are trademark searches available or required before filing? If so, what procedures and fees apply?

The IPI offers trademark searches. However, no such searches are required before or in connection with the filing of a trademark application. 

Examination

What factors does the authority consider in its examination of the application?

The IPI examines the formal requirements of the application and whether any absolute grounds have been provided.

Does the authority check for relative grounds for refusal (eg, through searches)?

No, the IPI does not check for relative grounds.

If the authority raises objections to the application, can the applicant take measures to rectify the application? If so, what rules and procedures apply?

The IPI informs the applicant of any objections that it may have and provides a timeframe in which it must rectify the application. Eventually, more than one exchange of letters is conducted. In this regard, the applicant can approach the IPI and discuss the rectification. 

Can rejected applications be appealed? If so, what procedures apply?

The decision can be appealed within 30 days to the Federal Administrative Court and thereupon to the Federal Supreme Court. The first-instance court examines questions of fact, while the second-instance examination is limited to questions of law. 

Registration

When does a trademark registration formally come into effect?

A trademark registration comes into effect once a complete application for trademark protection has been filed with the IPI.

What is the term of protection and how can a registration be renewed?

The term of protection is 10 years. This can be renewed for further 10-year periods by filing an application for extension. 

What registration fees apply?

The fee for a trademark extension is Sfr700. If the application for extension is filed within six months from the trademark’s expiration, an additional Sfr50 is due. 

What is the usual timeframe from filing to registration?

According to the IPI, the registration procedure takes between six working days (for obviously unproblematic applications) and three months from payment of the registration fees. In practice, proceedings can last up to six months. An applicant may apply for an accelerated examination, meaning that the IPI issues a decision on the registration or objection within one month.

Opposition

Can third parties formally oppose an application? If so, on what grounds and what rules and procedures apply?

A third-party opposition can be filed by the owner of an older trademark on the basis of an alleged violation of relative grounds.

The opposition must be submitted in writing to the IPI within three months from the registration's publication. Further, the opposition fee (at present, Sfr800) must be paid within this period. The procedure usually consists of one written submission, but the IPI may order a second. The IPI examines the likelihood of confusion on the basis of the excerpts from the trademark register. If the opposition is justified, the IPI revokes the registration in whole or in part. Otherwise, the opposition is rejected.

What is the usual timeframe for opposition proceedings?

Opposition proceedings usually take one year or more. The IPI publishes its decisions on its website.

Are opposition decisions subject to appeal? If so, what procedures apply?

An opposition decision can be appealed to the Federal Administrative Court. No further appeal to the Federal Supreme Court is available. 

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