The Swiss cross can be used for designating Swiss goods. However, the goods must actually originate in Switzerland (see Requirements for using Swiss indications of source and the Swiss cross). For example, the Swiss cross may be used for mineral water from a Swiss source or for watches manufactured in Switzerland. Using the Swiss cross on goods from abroad, in contrast, is still unlawful.
Using the Swiss cross is forbidden if it could misleadingly indicate a link to the Confederation.
The Swiss Cross may not be used for certain products and for certain services (particularly in the medical field) if it could be mistaken for the sign of the Red Cross.
The coat of arms of the Swiss Confederation is an expression of the sovereignty and dignity of the state. Its use is accordingly reserved for the state. Private companies may no longer use the Swiss coat of arms without a right of continued use.
Yes, it can.
Under the new law, the Swiss cross may be used not only for Swiss services - as previously - but also for the designation of Swiss goods. This means that in future, the most prized label of origin in terms of marketing, i.e. the Swiss cross, may be used on products or product packaging for commercially. Use of the Swiss cross on a product or in connection with a service is generally perceived as being a geographical reference of such products or services. The requirement for its use is that the products must meet the 'Swissness' criteria.
If the Swiss cross is not recognised as the geographical origin of the product by consumers - for example, a red T-shirt with a large white cross as its motif, a red balloon with a white cross or a red umbrella with a white cross - then this use is considered decorative and the 'Swissness' criteria must not be adhered to.
Whether or not the Swiss cross is understood as a geographical indication must be determined individually by the targeted public. The main factor here is whether the Swiss cross specifically creates certain expectations in terms of the geographical origin of the goods or services. The Swiss coat of arms, on the other hand, i.e. the Swiss cross within a shield similar to an escutcheon, may only be used by the Swiss Confederation. However, there are exceptions to this prohibition.
No, they can't.
Official designations such as “Confederation” or “cantonal” are protected. The same is true for designations referring to a sovereign activity, such as “police” or “court”, because the trust which citizens have in such designations must be protected. Use of these designations may not in any way be incorrect or misleading and may not be contrary to public policy or morality or the law currently in force.
For example, the use of the term “police” is not permitted if the false impression could arise that the person using the designation is a police officer because, for instance, he is wearing a dark blue suit with a white or yellow “Police” inscription on it.
However, the Swiss Gymnastics Federation will continue to be allowed to use the term "Swiss Federal Gymnastics Tournament" because with this combination of words, the term "Swiss Federal" does not suggest a supposed official relationship to the Confederation as an official authority.
Yes, they are.
The Swiss cross is defined as a white free-standing upright cross on a red background, whose arms which are all of equal size, are one-sixth longer than they are wide. The exact dimensions of the Swiss flag as well as the ratio of the cross to the background are regulated in the appendix to the official legal act. The "red" colour of the shield is also defined. The definition corresponds to the information provided in the "Corporate Identity Guide, Swiss confederation (in German)” handbook published by the Federal Chancellery. For practical reasons, the definition has been supplemented with other contemporary colour specifications that are commonly used Anyone who is entitled to use the Swiss cross may use it in this form or, as previously, in the modified form. The cross may therefore be used in different sizes, for example, or together with other graphical elements. There is no obligation to use the Swiss cross in this defined form only. Therefore, the Swiss tourism sector may continue to use the Swiss cross in the form of an Edelweiss.
The SBB, as a company of the Swiss Confederation, may also use a Swiss coat of arms on its locomotives in a form or size that deviates from the legal definition.
Yes, there are.
Under no circumstances may the Swiss cross be used in an inappropriate or misleading way, nor may it be contrary to public policy, public morality or the law currently in force.
If, within the overall context, the use of the Swiss cross arouses the misconception that official relations with the public body exists, then this is considered to be misleading. For example, using the Swiss cross in connection with a private service and consulting firm for visa issues is considered to be misleading, as the targeted clients of the service could assume that the consulting firm is an official agency.
Use of the Swiss cross can be prohibited in particularly severe cases under "violation of public policy”, if such use could damage the reputation of Switzerland or potentially interfere with its diplomatic relations.
A violation of public morality exists when use of the Swiss cross offends public decency (the prevailing moral code) or ethical principles and values of the legal system, i.e. when it is considered to hurt the moral sensibilities of certain public circles or when respect for the public body is lacking. This, for example, would be the case in sexually objectionable or clearly racist depictions, even if such acts do not fulfil the elements of an offence under the Swiss Criminal Code. The image of the Swiss cross on a door mat, however, is not seen as being contrary to public morality.
Finally, use of the Swiss cross may not be contrary to the law currently in force. Within this context, the federal act says that, with regard to protecting the sign and the name of the Red Cross, neither the "Red Cross" nor any other signs that may be confused with it may be affixed to goods. In certain cases, therefore, the Swiss cross - which can be confused with the sign of the Red Cross - may not be used. This applies even if the general requirements for using the Swiss cross are actually fulfilled. Therefore, the Swiss cross may not be affixed to medical products or used in connection with medical services if it can be confused with the sign of the Red Cross. Whether such a possibility of confusion exists, is evaluated on an individual basis from the circumstances as a whole.
The new law distinguishes between the Swiss cross, the Swiss coat of arms and the Swiss flag.
The Swiss cross is defined as a free-standing upright white cross on a red background. The arms of the cross are all of equal size, but are one-sixth longer than they are wide (see “Corporate Identity Guide, Swiss confederation (in German)” handbook published by the Federal Chancellery).
B = width of the crossbar = 1/5 von A
C = length of the crossbar - or leg = 1/5 of A plus 1/6 of B
The Swiss coat of arms is a Swiss cross in a triangular shield.
The Swiss flag is depicted by a Swiss cross on a square background. This form goes back to a military banner and differs from the rectangular flags of other states.
No, it can't.
The coat of arms is an expression of the sovereignty and dignity of the state and therefore remains reserved for the public body concerned. Accordingly, the Swiss coat of arms may not be used by private persons or companies for services or goods. However, you may readily replace the Swiss coat of arms with the Swiss cross as long as the relevant conditions are met. For companies that have been using the Swiss coat of arms for many years for goods and services originating in Switzerland, provision is made for a right of continued use where justified by legitimate interest. This could apply to the following signs, for example:
However, this right of continued use will only be granted by request to the Federal Department of Justice and Police (FDJP). Such a request must be made within two years following the entry into force of this Act.en vigueur de la loi.
No, it isn't.
Faithful replicas or partial reproductions of the Swiss coat of arms, as well as any signs that may be confused with it, are now reserved for the public bodies only. It is therefore not enough to simply change the proportions of the protected coat of arms or to use another form of the shield in order to avoid confusion with the protected sign. Using a colour which only marginally differs from the colour of the protected sign is also not sufficient. For instance, an upright white cross on an orange-coloured shield is a sign that is considered as being confusingly similar to the Swiss coat of arms because the colour chosen is not significantly different from the red of the Swiss coat of arms. In contrast, a sign with an upright white cross on a blue shield is judged differently. In this case, the chosen colour of the shield avoids any confusion meaning that the sign may be freely used.
No, it isn't.
The definition of the colour and sizes is non-binding. Therefore, it is always possible to choose another shade of red or another size. However, if the choice of colour is such that the sign used can be confused with the Swiss cross, then it must fulfil the requirements for using the Swiss cross.
Yes, it is.
The Swiss cross belongs to the public domain, which means that it must remain available to all market participants. As such, it may not be the only element of a trade mark. In other words, the Swiss cross must be combined with another protectable word or figurative element so that the trade mark is eligible for protection as a whole and can be registered. This is referred to as a combined trade mark.
As the Swiss cross may not be misleading with regard to geographical origin, a trade mark with a Swiss cross may only be registered for goods and services originating in Switzerland. Further information on this can be found in our Trade Mark Guidelines, Part 4, Section 8.6. (Available in German, French or Italian only).
The Swiss Confederation and its businesses may register the Swiss coat of arms as an element of a trade mark. If a trade mark is filed with the Swiss cross as an element of it before the entry into force of the new law, it must be refused under the law in force. However, if the applicant of the trade mark agrees that the day on which the new law enters into force should apply as the filing date, then the application can be examined under the new law. For such trademarks filed prior to the entry into force of the new Coat of Arms Protection Act, the filing date will be uniformly deemed to be the day of the entry into force of the new law. The IPI will accept such applications from the day on which the Federal Council decrees the enactment of the Coat of Arms Protection Act. Applications submitted prior to this will be examined and refused under the old law.
21.11.2018 | Partners and initiatives
BioInnovation Day in Geneva – the IPI awards prizes for inventions
Revised guidelines for the substantive examination of national patent applications effective 1 January 2019
Info event on using strategic patent analyses on 11.4.2018 in Zurich
14.02.2018 | Event
Stakeholder Discussions on: Innovation, availability and affordability of medical products. Can we achieve it all?
27.09.2017 | Event
Séminaire IPI / LES: «développements récents en droit des marques», jeudi le 9 novembre 2017 au Novotel Genève