Which denominations can be protected?

An application for international registration originating from Switzerland may only refer to an appellation of origin (AO) or a geographical indication (GI) that is protected in Switzerland and that has its geographical location of origin in the territory of Switzerland. For example, the denomination Café de Colombia, although registered in Switzerland as a protected geographical indication, could not be the subject of an application for international registration filed in Switzerland.


The following four categories of denominations are admissible for international registration under the Lisbon System:


  • Protected appellations of origin (PAOs) and protected geographical indications (PGIs) entered in the register maintained by the Federal Office for Agriculture or in the register maintained by the IPI
  • Appellations of controlled origin (ACOs) for wine
  • Geographical indications covered by an industry ordinance
  • Trade marks which exclusively consist of an AO or a GI, provided that the AO or GI is not protected under any of the above categories and that the trade mark is entirely consistent with the AO or GI in question


Currently, only some of the states participating in the Lisbon System permit the protection of AOs and GIs for non-agricultural products; it is not allowed in the European Union, for example. There is therefore a risk that an application for the international registration of an AO or a GI for a non-agricultural product originating from Switzerland could be refused in the states that do not have a protection system for such products.


Who can file an application?

Beneficiaries of a Swiss AO or GI, a representative group, or the proprietor of a trade mark which consists of a Swiss AO or GI can file an application for international registration (Art. 50d para. 1, TmPA).


How can you file an application?

Applications for the international registration of a Swiss AO or GI must be filed with the IPI in French by filling in the official WIPO form and sending it by post or by email (origin.adminnot shown@ekomm.ipito make life hard for spam bots.ch).


It is not necessary to indicate in the application for which member state(s) the extension of protection is desired. Subject to the issuance of a refusal of the effects of the registration, protection is extended to all states participating in the system. However, it is possible to renounce protection in one or more member states, in particular by specifying so in the application.


Fees relating to the application

The filing of an application for international registration is subject to the payment of a single fee of CHF 1,000, which must be paid directly to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) once it has acknowledged receipt of the application. In addition, each member state may request the payment of an individual fee. The IPI does not charge any fee for the national processing of an application for the international registration of a Swiss AO or GI.


Examination of the application

If the application meets the necessary requirements, the IPI will forward it to WIPO, which will then carry out a formal examination. If there are no irregularities in the application, WIPO will enter the AO or GI in the international register and notify the member states of the registration. The states have one year from the date of receipt of the notification to grant or refuse protection of the AO or GI in their territory.