Geographical mark

Protected designations of origin and geographical indications registered in a federal register (PDO/PGI, for example, Gruyère for cheese) can also be registered as geographical marks. This also applies for wine designations protected at cantonal level (e.g. Espesses in the canton of Vaud) and indications of source that are the subject matter of a Federal Council ordinance (e.g. watches). The designation ‘EMMENTALER’ for cheese, which is also a protected designation of origin, was the first geographical mark to be registered by the IPI (mark no. 703 183).


A register extract for a geographical mark is an official acknowledgement of protection, in the same way as an extract from the register for geographical indications. These two official means of obtaining recognition in the country of origin, in this case in Switzerland, significantly simplify obtaining and enforcing protection abroad for the clearly identifiable rights owner.


Only a representative group can submit an application for registration of a geographical mark to the IPI. The rules for use of the geographical mark must correspond exactly to the product specification. This requirement is due to the particular nature of the geographical mark which allows for indications of source and geographical indications to be used by anyone who meets the requirements set out in the product specification. The group which owns the geographical mark may, in return, prohibit any person who does not comply with the regulations from using the mark.

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