The IPI primarily learns of potential unlawful use from the Swiss embassies abroad, from the Directorate General of Customs and private persons. Private persons monitor trade mark registers in the most important industrial nations to learn about unlawful uses as soon as possible. The IPI becomes involved when the interests of the Confederation are obviously affected, particularly when it concerns the Swiss coat of arms and/or Swiss cross that is potentially being misused. In Switzerland, the IPI informs the infringing person or infringing company in writing of the unlawful conduct and brings its attention to the applicable statutory regulations.
If such cases occur abroad, interventions take place in collaboration with the Swiss embassy. The IPI notifies the offending company – via the embassy – of its wrongful conduct and informs the involved trade associations. These can then decide on what measures to take.
For example: A company in Japan sells a dairy product which is produced in Japan but on the packaging, the Swiss cross and the designation "Swiss Caramel Caffè Latte" are affixed. After the Swiss embassy intervenes, the company refrains from using the deceptive designation and the Swiss cross.
The IPI or, respectively, the Swiss embassies monitor trade mark registrations in certain countries. The embassy will monitor new trademark registrations using a local agent which then regularly informs the Institute if a problematical trademark has been registered. If a trade mark contains the Swiss cross and/or the designation "Switzerland", the IPI informs the trade association about it so that it has the option to file opposition to the registration.
Other information about enforcement:
Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property
Telephone +41 31 377 72 37
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