The IPI is the first point of contact for its customers concerning industrial IP rights (trade marks, patents and designs) in Switzerland. This also applies to applications for relevant international IP rights. The IPI examines Swiss national applications and grants and administers industrial IP rights. These tasks are regulated in the special legislation on intellectual property (trade mark, patent and design laws).
It also becomes actively involved whenever the interests of the Swiss Confederation are affected, in particular when the Swiss coat of arms and/or the Swiss cross is suspected of being misused.
Important information is contained in IP rights, information that can be used by businesses at favourable conditions and for their own benefit. The IPI also provides a diverse range of search services. The range of search services includes an assisted patent search for beginners, complex patent infringement searches, simple trade mark searches and tailor-made trade mark monitoring.
The information services of the IPI contribute to society’s awareness of the features and uses of intellectual property, and promote respect for the intellectual property of third parties. The tasks of the IPI also include informing companies about how they can use the IP rights system and the possibilities available to them for their commercial success. The IPI conducts training, courses and seminars, and cooperates with Swiss schools of higher education.
The management of copyright by individual rights owners is often neither possible nor feasible. In these instances, the collective rights management organisations play an important intermediary role.
They need approval from the IPI for the exercise of their activities. The IPI, along with the Federal Arbitration Commission for the Exploitation of Copyrights and Related Rights (FACO), is also responsible for the supervision of the collective rights management organisations.
The IPI advises the Federal Council and Parliament on all intellectual property matters. It is responsible for preparing legislation about patents, designs, trade marks and indications of source, coats of arms and other official signs, copyright and related rights as well as about the organisation of the IPI. It represents Switzerland in the relevant international organisations as well as in negotiations on intellectual property with other countries. It is commissioned by other federal agencies, or acts on its own initiative, to support project countries in the development of their intellectual property rights systems.
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