The 'Swissness' legislation

Chronology

01.01.2017Entry into force of the new "Swissness" legislation.
31.08.2016The Federal Counil rejected the Grossen Motion 16.3308 "The 'Swiss Made' brand". Don't stifle Swiss industry with bureaucracy." This motion called for amendments to the Trade Mark Protection Act to ensure that Swiss companies are not penalised in international competition.
08.09.2015The National Council rejects the Motion 15.3500 “A practicable ‘Swissness’”’ in German by its Committee for Legal Affairs. The motion, which called for a suspension of the entry into force of the ‘Swissness’ legislative amendment and a simplification of the ordinances, is rejected by 108 votes to 72 (with 8 abstentions)
02.09.2015

The Federal Council approves the four 'Swissness' implementing ordinances and establishes the 1 January 2017 as the date of the entry into force of the legislation (the law and ordinances). It acknowledges the report on the results of the consultation procedure in German, French or Italian

The Federal Council also opens the consultation procedure on the draft for an amendment to the 'Swiss Made' Ordinance for Watches.

See also the press release.

28.05.2015The Committee for Legal Affairs of the National Council (LAC-N) is consulted on the ordinances. It submits a motion that calls for the Federal Council to suspend the entry into force of the 'Swissness' legislation and simplify the ordinances. For additional recommendations made by the Committee to the Federal Council, see the press release in German.
12.05.2015The Committee for Economic Affairs and Taxes of the National Council (EATC-N) is consulted on the ordinances at its own request. It makes its recommendations in an accompanying report addressed to the Committee for Legal Affairs of the National Council (LAC-N).
23.04.2015The Legal Affairs Committee of the Council of States (LAC-N) is consulted on the ordinances. It is in support of the 'Swissness' legislation entering into force on 1 January 2017. For additional recommendations made by the Committee to the Federal Council, see the press release in German.
20.06.2014

The Federal Council begins the consultation procedure for the 'Swissness' implementing regulations. The consultation period ends on 17 October 2014. See press release (available in German, French and Italian, pdf). The following four enactments are concerned:

  1. Revision of the Trade Mark Protection Ordinance (MSchV)
  2. Ordinance on the Use of 'Swiss' Indications of Source for Foodstuffs (HASLV)
  3. Ordinance on the Register for Designations of Origin and Geographical Indications for Non-Agicultural Products (PDO/PGI Ordinance for Non-Agricultural Products);
  4. Ordinance on the Protection of the Swiss Coat of Arms and other Public Signs (WSchV)
21.06.2013The National Council and the Council of States have accepted the 'Swissness' legislative amendment in the final vote.
11.06.2013Upon the advice of its committee, the National Council has followed the Council of States and thus resolved the final difference.
06.06.2013The Council of States follows its committee to a large extent.  The only divergence between the National Council and the Council of States remains the issue of whether for animal products such as eggs and milk, the place of rearing (as per the National Council) or the place where the animals are kept (as per the Council of States) should be relevant.
02.05.2013The Council of State's Committee for Legal Affairs (LAC-S) deliberates the divergences between the National Council and the Council of States and issues the following press release available in German, French and Italian (2nd paragraph, Project Swissness). A clear majority of the Committee recommends the Council of States to follow the National Council in all points. Contrary to the first decision of the Council of States, however, the LAC-S calls for an exception for milk and milk products (requirement of 100% raw material milk in order to be labelled as "Swiss") - as does the National Council. For industrial products, the LAC-S proposes to endorse the decision of the National Council (60% of the relevant manufacturing costs from Switzerland and the essential manufacturing step in Switzerland). The Council of States wants to deal with the remaining divergences in the summer session.
11.03.2013The National Council deliberates the divergences between the National Council and the Council of States. Regarding the criteria for determining origin for foodstuffs, the National Council follows the advice of its committee and adopts the concept of the Council of States, which refers to the Federal Council's proposal (80% of the raw material weight from Switzerland and essential processing in Switzerland). Contrary to the Council of States, the National Council maintains, however, an exception for milk and milk products (100% of raw material as milk). For industrial products, the National Council also follows its committee and maintains its decision (60% relevant manufacturing costs in Switzerland and essential manufacturing step in Switzerland). The Council of States' Committee for Legal Affairs intends dealing with the remaining divergences in May.
11.01.2013The National Council's Committee for Legal Affairs (CLA-N) deliberates the divergences between the National Council and the Council of States and issues the following press release available in German, French and Italian. The Committee recommends that the National Council accept the Council of State's criteria for determining origin (80% of the raw material weight from Switzerland and the essential manufacturing step in Switzerland). For industrial products, the CLA-N proposes upholding the National Council's decision (60% of the relevant manufacturing costs and the essential manufacturing step in Switzerland).
11.12.2012The Council of States deliberates the ‘Swissness’ legislative amendment and follows the Federal Council’s proposition – as has the National Council already – with regard to the total revision of the Coat of Arms Protection Act, as well as, for a large part, a revision of the Trade Mark Protection Act. In contrast to the National Council, the Council of States also follows the Federal Council and its own Committee with regard to processed foods - it provides for uniform requirements in order for foodstuffs to be able to be labelled as being Swiss products (80% of the raw material weight from Switzerland and an essential manufacturing step in Switzerland) and goes into more detail. For industrial products in contrast, the Council of States lowers the applicable manufacturing costs from 60% to 50%, thus going against the majority of its own Committee and against the Federal Council as well as the National Council. In the case of services, the Council of States follows the solution proposed by the National Council - also supported by the Federal Council – which takes the corporate structure of a group of companies into account and at the same time curtails the risk of abuse. Finally, the Council of States approves one of the motions of its Committee, whereby the Federal Council is mandated to regulate the use of geographical indications when concluding all future free trade agreements and bilateral trade and economic treaties. The adopted texts can be found on Parliament’s website available in German, French and Italian only.
The procedure for resolution of differences will commence in January 2013.
15.11.2012The Council of States’ Legal Affairs Committee (Second Chamber; LAC-S) concludes its debate on the 'Swissness' legislative amendment and issues the following press release available in German, French and Italian. Even after re-examining the legislative text, the LAC-S comes to the conclusion that the bill should, on the whole, follow the proposition of the Federal Council. It considers this a practical compromise, which contributes to a trustworthy and strong " Switzerland" brand.
The Council of States will conduct a detailed consideration in the 2012 winter session.
27.09.2012The Council of States votes unanimously to  pursue the ‘Swissness’ legislative amendment. Due to the number of individually proposed changes to the bill’s core articles, the Council refers the item of business back to its Legal Affairs Committee (LAC-S) for further detailed consideration.
19.06.2012The Council of States Legal Affairs Committee (Second Chamber; LAC-S) concludes its debate on the 'Swissness' legislative amendment and issues the following press release available in German, French and Italian. The LAC-S approves both drafts without any dissenting votes. It unanimously rejects the difference between highly-processed and slightly-processed foods decided by the National Council and, as a result, reverts back to the Federal Council's solution on all central points. The LAC-S also wants to mandate the Federal Council by means of a Committee motion to regulate the use of geographical indications when concluding all future free trade agreements and bilateral trade and economic treaties. It is expected that the Council of States will debate the draft during the autumn session.
21.05.2012The Legal Affairs Committee of the Council of States (Second Chamber; LAC-S) again takes up its deliberations on the 'Swissness' legislative amendment and issues the following press release available in German and French only. The LAC-S unanimously decides to enter into debate on the item of business. It unanimously repeals the differences concerning slightly and highly-processed foods decided by the National Council and reverts back to the Federal Council’s solution. This approach provides for uniform requirements for all processed natural products in order for them to be able to be labelled as being Swiss products (80% of the raw material weight from Switzerland and an essential manufacturing step in Switzerland). For industrial products, the Committee follows the National Council. With this solution, not only the research and development costs can be included in the 60% for the relevant source manufacturing costs (as permitted by the Federal Council), but also officially-regulated quality and certificate costs.
15.3.2012The National Council deliberates the 'Swissness' legislative amendment and adopts the bill ready to be submitted to the Council of States. It thus follows the Federal Council’s proposition with regard to a total revision of the Coat of Arms Protection Act as well as, for a large part, a revision of the Trade Mark Protection Act. For foodstuffs, however, the National Council follows the approach of its Commission and provides for differing requirements for slightly-processed and highly-processed foods in order for them to be able to be labelled as Swiss products. For highly-processed foods and industrial products, manufacturing costs should not only include the research and development costs but in addition also officially regulated quality and certification costs. For services, the National Council – with the support of the Federal Council - proposes a regulation that allows to refer to the parent company of a combine and at the same time curtails the risk of abuse. The adopted texts can be found on Parliament's website available in German, French and Italian only.
11.11.2011The  National Council's Committee for Legal Affairs concludes its deliberations on the 'Swissness' legislative amendment. It approves the Federal Council's drafts on revisions of the Trade Mark Protection Act and the Coat of Arms Protection Act for the attention of their council, and to this end issues the following press release available in German and French. In the view of the Committee, different requirements should apply to highly-processed and slightly-processed foods in order for them to be able to be labelled as being Swiss products.
13.10.2011The National Council's Committee for Legal Affairs continues with its deliberations on the 'Swissness' bill and to this end, issues the following press release.
01.09.2011The  National Council's Committee for Legal Affairs again takes up the debate on the 'Swissness' legislative amendment. The sub-committee reports to the Committee for Legal Affairs on its preliminary examination of the bill, which it completed on 12 August 2011.
14.10.2010The National Council's Committee for Legal Affairs (CLA-N) pronounces itself in favour of stronger protection of the "Switzerland" brand and unanimously decides to enter into debate on the legislative amendment.   The Committee also decides to mandate a sub-committee with a detailed preliminary examination of the bill. The Office of the National Council has approved this decision. The sub-committee of the CLA-N took up its work on 19 November 2010 and completed it on 12 August 2011. See also the Committee's press release on the  Swiss Federal Parliament website (in French).
31.08.1010The Committee for economic affairs and taxation carries out hearings and establishes a report for the attention of the National Council’s Committee for Legal Affairs. Also see the Swiss Federal Parliament website (in French).
25.03.2010Consulations by the National Council’s Committee for Legal Affairs. Also see the Swiss Federal Parliament website (in French).
09.03.2010Federal Counsellor Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf officially opens the exhibition « Branded as Swiss…genuinely Swiss?” which presents the "Swissness" legislative amendment at the Political Forum of the Confédération at the Käfigturm in Bern.
28.01.2010The National Council Committee for Legal Affairs (priority Council) pushes forward on the “Swissness” project for the first time.
18.11.2009The Federal Council approves the dispatch for the legislative amendment “Swissness”. See the press release, in French (pdf 35 KB).
25.03.2009The Federal Council agrees to include food products in the “Swissness” project. It defines the applicable guidelines for determining the source which will be specified in the dispatch. See the press release (pdf 35 KB).
15.10.2008The Federal Council mandates the Department of Justice and Police to draw up a dispatch for revising the Trademark Act and the Coat of Arms Protection Act. See the press release, in French (pdf 36 KB).
31.03.2008End of the consultation process.
28.11.2007The Federal Council formally opens the consultation procedure for the legislative amendment concerning “Swissness”. See press release, in French (pdf 36 KB).
12.10.2007The National Council Committee for Legal Affairs approves the report and releases it for forwarding to parliament.
03.07.2007The Council of States Committee for Legal Affairs approves the report and releases it for forwarding to parliament.
15.11.2006The Federal Council Report on the Protection of “Made in Switzerland” Designations and the Swiss Cross. See press release, in French (pdf 36 KB).
23.06.2006The National Council adopts the Hutter Postulate which mandates the Federal Council to detail measures for improving protection for the “Switzerland” trademark and to verify the options for revising the current legislation to achieve this.
09.06.2006The National Council adopts the Hutter Postulate which mandates the Federal Council to detail measures for improving protection for the “Switzerland” trademark and to verify the options for revising the current legislation to achieve this.

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