How do you want to protect and defend your intellectual property long-term? Weigh the costs and advantages and define a protective strategy. Decide what you want to protect, in which countries, for how long, whether and how you want to monitor your protective rights, how you can defend them, and, just in case, how you want to assign them.
Here are a few questions you should think about:
- What do you want to protect? Invention, trade mark, or design? Or all three simultaneously? Do you want to patent the opening mechanism for the umbrella? Protect the form of the handle or the pattern of the fabric as a design? Or do you want to register the name of the umbrella as a trade mark?
- How do you want to protect your invention?
- You can keep the invention secret,
which is, to a certain extent, a cheap, permanent form of protection. However, someone else can discover your solution and use it freely.
- You can protect the invention with a patent.
As a patent owner, you can commercially use your invention and prohibit others from the economic utilizaton (e.g., producing, seling, or importing) of your invention for a maximum of 20 years. This allows you to recoup the money you invested in development and to make a profit. In return, so to speak, you must accurately describe your invention and disclose it (in Switzerland, inventions are electronically published at www.swissreg.ch 18 months after the date of filing, or, if applicable, the priority date). Patent protection promotes technological progress by allowing the state of the art of a technology to be disseminated. Others can freely access the knowledge and use it as a starting point for advancing their own research. Whatever is not published in the patent application and thus kept secret is not protected.
- Or, you can publish an invention without patenting it.
This prevents someone else from obtaining a viable patent for your invention. When an invention has already been published, it is no longer considered novel and thus is not patentable.
- How to decide in which countries to protect your intellectual property? Which markets are feasible and interesting for your product? Are you prepared to defend your rights in these countries?
We recommend that you consult a specialist (patent or trade mark attorney) for developing an effective intellectual property strategy.
Good to know
- There is another defense against counterfeiting without patent, trade mark, or design rights: Manufacturers are also protected against counterfeiting through the Federal Law on Unfair Competition. This law protects primarily against a conduct of business which is contrary to good faith-practices or immoral. Acts which are considered unfair and illegal are things such as deceiving and misleading consumers. The unfair competition law can be used to proceed against counterfeiting and copying (Federal Law on Unfair Competition, in German)
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