Under certain circumstances, national law prevents protected public signs being registered as an element of a trade mark. This is because, for example, a foreign trade mark office may reject all trade mark applications containing the Swiss cross. In this case, in accordance with an international convention, the IPI can issue an authorisation which allows the trade mark to be examined and registered in the foreign trade mark register. The applicant then enters into an agreement with the IPI in which he or she commits in writing to comply with the legally defined criteria. In the case of non-compliance, this agreement lapses.
Based on the same legislation , cantonal coats of arms are also protected from misuse. The use of a cantonal coat of arms as an element of a trade mark and combating misuse fall within the responsibility of the cantons.
Roundtable on the protection of computer-implemented inventions