The Standing Committee on the Law of Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Geographical Indications (SCT) is responsible for developing international law on indications of source. These are protected, in particular, by the Paris Convention and by the Madrid Agreement on Indications of Source. The Paris Convention also protects state emblems. Appellations of origin and geographical indications benefit from an international registration and protection system based on Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement.
This standing committee is a body of the WIPO. Bringing together experts from around the world, it is responsible for normative work in the field of international law on indications of source, geographical indications (GIs) and state emblems. It also encourages the harmonisation of national laws. Switzerland actively participates in the work of the SCT with a delegation of specialists from the IPI.
Switzerland is a member of two treaties administered by the WIPO that protect indications of source. Firstly, the Paris Convention (1883), which prevents the use of false indications concerning the origin of products. Secondly, the Madrid Agreement for the Repression of False or Deceptive Indications of Source on Goods (1891), which provides for measures against commercial misuse.
Article 6ter of the Paris Convention protects flags and state emblems against non-authorised registration and use as a trade mark. Names and emblems of international intergovernmental organisations and official hallmarks are also protected under this article. Emblems and hallmarks are notified by states and intergovernmental organisations and published in an electronic database.
The WIPO also administers the Lisbon Agreement (1958) for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their International Registration, of which Switzerland is not a member state, as well as the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement on Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications (2015). These treaties establish an international register of appellations of origin and geographical indications and prescribe a high level of protection. The Geneva Act entered into force on 26 February 2020.
On 18 August 2021, the Federal Council approved the entry into force of the Geneva Act and the implementing ordinances per 1 December 2021. This accession will permit beneficiaries of Swiss appellations of origin and geographical indications to protect their rights abroad in future through a single, inexpensive procedure.
The dispatch concerning the approval of the Geneva Act and its implementation (amendment of the Trade Mark Protection Act, the Federal Ordinance on the Protection of Trade Marks and Indications of Source and the IPI’s Fee Ordinance) and the report on the results of the public consultation procedure are available in German, French or Italian.
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