The new "Swissness" legislation strengthens the designation "Switzerland" and the Swiss cross. It helps to prevent and curb their misuse so that the value of the "Swiss" label is maintained in the long term.
The IPI maintains an electronic list (german version) of protected public signs in accordance with Art. 18 Coat of Arms Protection Act (CAPA). This list contains the public signs of Switzerland (coats of arms, flags and other emblems of the Confederation, cantons, districts and communes) as well as foreign public signs, the latter of which are communicated to Switzerland by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
This list (german version) is primarily intended to provide information in general and promotes transparency, but also to ensure that all official signs are recorded making it simpler for the IPI to enforce the law. There is no legal obligation for a sign to be registered in the list for it to be protected as this is based on federal, cantonal or municipal legislation.
Maintenance of the list began on 1 January 2017 and is currently in the stage of being developed. The IPI records public signs on an ongoing basis when notified. However, if a sign is not (yet) in the list, it cannot generally be concluded that it is not protected. If the translation of the sign is missing, the sign will only be shown in the language in which the application to register it was made. It is possible to search the list for word elements (e.g. the address of the authority, textual components in the coat of arms, colours). In future, it will also be possible to search for figurative elements with the corresponding Vienna code.
Under the Federal Act of 15 December 1961 on the Protection of Names and Emblems of the United Nations and Other Intergovernmental Organisations, it is prohibited to protect the following signs of the said organisations as a trade mark or as an element of a trade mark:
You can search for protected abbreviations and signs in the list of protected public signs or via the WIPO's website. The Database on Article 6ter Paris Convention provides a structured search in French and English.
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