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Protection in Switzerland
Procedure from filing to patent
The following information is based on the patent for Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Switzerland and Liechtenstein have the same patent regulations based on a bilateral patent treaty. A Swiss patent is valid in Liechtenstein in the same way that a patent in Liechtenstein is valid in Switzerland. Designation of one country implies the other, they cannot be designated separately
Note that inventions, for which a patent has been filed, are not examined for novelty and inventive step in Switzerland (Patent Act, Art. 59, para. 4). However, since these two criteria are essential for patentability, we strongly recommend that the applicant researches the novelty and inventive step. A prior art search for a Swiss patent application, for instance, would do this.
Filing: What you need to submit for a successful patent application
As soon as you have sufficiently described your invention, for example, with a technical drawing or prototype, we recommend that you begin formulating the technical specifications. It is important that you are informed about the requirements of the technical documents and how they should be completed. For information, click on technical documents on this website. When you have completed these, submit your patent application with the correct form Application for a Swiss/Liechtenstein Patent (available as pdf or Word document in German, French and Italian).
Additional information regarding the application form can be found at Instructions to the Form.
If you mail the application and accompanying documents using the Swiss postal system, the post cancellation date is the valid date. If the cancellation date is indecipherable, the date on which the application is received by the Institute is the valid date. It is also possible to personally deliver the application or to send it per fax.
A national patent application consists of a request for the granting of a patent for Switzerland and Liechtenstein, a description of the invention, one or more patent claims, the technical drawings to which the description or patent claims refer and an abstract.
In order to assign a filing date to an application, the application must contain at least the following:
- Indication that a national patent is being requested
- Information allowing the identity of the applicant to be ascertained or to contact him
- A description of the invention or a reference to a previously filed application
The following material can be submitted to the Institute within three months of the filing date; however, we recommend that they are enclosed with the above mentioned items on the date of filing:
- One or more patent claims
- Technical drawings
Once your application has been received, we examine the documents submitted. If the requirements for a filing date have been met, you will receive a certificate of filing including the official filing date and number. Always include the application number in your correspondence from this point on. If the requirements for a filing date are not met, we return your application explaining why. In this case, the patent application is considered as not submitted.
The priority deadline begins with the filing date. You now have 12 months in which to file abroad for a patent for your invention using this date. This is a good time to clarify the novelty and commercial possibilities of your invention, if you haven’t done so already. With your certificate of filing you will also receive an order form for requesting the optional prior art search for Swiss patent application. This search establishes the relationship of your invention to the state of the art. The documents relevant to your invention are cited in a search report and allow you to evaluate the novelty of your invention and the inventive step.
In a second step, we check whether the documents comply formally with legislative requirements. If deficiencies are noted, we will inform you and give you the opportunity to remedy them or to submit any missing information within the specified deadline. If the deficiencies are resolved correctly and within the deadline your application goes to the next stage; if not, it is rejected.
Your invention will be classified according to the International Patent Classification (IPC). This classification allows specific information to be retrieved more easily from among the millions of patent documents. More detailed information on the classification systems can be found under Classification.
The patent application is published online (at www.swissreg.ch) 18 months after the filing (or after the earliest priority date). If a search report was made, that is published with it.
The material examination is the stage at which our patent experts closely analyze the technical claims of your application in order to determine whether your invention fulfills the legal requirements for a patent (see Guidelines for the Material Examination, pdf in German 707 KB or French, 589 KB). We do not examine for novelty or inventive step; therefore we recommend requesting a prior art search for Swiss patent application made.
If we determine that your application contains flaws, you will receive a technical query which you must answer by submitting a revision to the technical claims (Amendments of the technical documents). Once you have addressed the points in the query within the time limit, there should be no more technical obstacles to having a patent granted. If this is not the case, then your application will be queried again or rejected.
The material examination usually takes place three to four years after you have filed for a patent. If you are granted the patent, your invention is protected beginning from the date on which you applied. You can use the period between when you apply and when your patent is granted to negotiate with potential partners or plan how you will commercially apply your invention.
If you want to find out sooner whether your patent application meets the legal conditions, you can request an expedited procedure for the material examination. The expedited procedure can result in your patent being published during the priority year. Since it is usually more advantageous for the applicant to have the patent granted after the priority year expires, we ask the applicant whether they would like their patent to be granted and published before or after the priority deadline expires.
Four years after the date of filing for a patent, yearly renewal fees are due, independently of the examination and granting procedures. This means that the first renewal fees might be due while the patent is still pending.
Granting and publication
If no deficiencies are found, or were remedied, you will receive a notification of completion of the examination. Beginning one month before the granting, no more amendments may be made to the technical documents, nor may the patent application be withdrawn. On the date of publication, you will receive a copy of the printed patent document and a certificate. The granted patent is entered in the Swiss register of patents and the patent document published at www.swissreg.ch.