The conditions under which a Swiss indication of source may be used for certain goods or services is more closely defined in an industry ordinance.
In order for an organisation to submit an industry ordinance to the Federal Council, it must show that it is either representative of the industry to be regulated or that the industry draft is supported by a representative portion of the industry.
In an industry ordinance, criteria for using the geographical indication ‘Switzerland’ or ‘Swiss’ for specific products or services can be regulated in detail, as long as there is need for this in an economic sector. To this end, a precise and detailed draft ordinance must be submitted to the Federal Council, supported by a representative section of companies within the relevant sector. It is therefore up to the trade associations to take the initiative for the corresponding discussions within the said sector and to agree on common criteria – or at least a clear common thrust for the content of the ordinance. These criteria should clarify the statutory regulations, but may in no way deviate from them. The advantage of an industry ordinance is that more precise regulations can take into account the particularities of an economic sector (e.g. determining the activity or activities through which the product obtains its essential characteristics). On the other hand, an industry ordinance is also a prerequisite for certain exceptions provided for by law (e.g. a list of the raw materials not available in sufficient quantity in Switzerland).
In addition, the Federal Council can also, if it deems it necessary, draw up a general ordinance for all economic sectors that have not agreed on common criteria or a common thrust.
Harmonisation and partial revision of guidelines as of 1 July 2023
Conference on Intellectual Property & Sustainability at the University of Geneva
Symposium: "Best practices in the fight against counterfeiting & piracy – NFTs not your cup of tea? Well, they should: NFTs as a new way of fighting counterfeiting and piracy"