In the list of protected public signs, you will find information on signs protected in Switzerland and abroad. It is worth consulting this list before filing your trade mark application.
Trade marks can also come into conflict with protected public signs. It is therefore best to check the public signs protected in Switzerland and abroad when you are creating your trade mark.
You can find the following in the list:
Swiss public signs
Includes coats of arms, flags and other emblems of the Confederation, the cantons, districts and communes
Signs from abroad
Includes flags and emblems of the WIPO states
Signs of intergovernmental organisations
Includes names, abbreviations and emblems of intergovernmental organisations (Article 6ter of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property)
The list of international signs is updated twice a year, as soon as the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) publishes new signs in its database (WIPO Global Brand Database or 6ter Structured Search). This occurs on 1 April and 1 October.
The list of national public signs reflects the status communicated by the cantons and communes. The IPI adds all signs reported without checking the status of their protection.
This list, which has been maintained since 1 January 2017, is solely for information purposes (Art. 18 Coat of Arms Protection Act). Public signs do not need to be included in the list to be protected. The cantons are required to inform the IPI of the protected signs to be published. The IPI therefore makes no claim as to the completeness of the information.
Please note that searching the database has its limits and it is not possible to definitively rule out potential conflict between your sign and a public sign.
Search for figurative elements
The figurative elements of protected signs are coded using the Vienna Classification. The Vienna Classification can thus be used to find protected signs with similar figurative elements. If, for example, you want to find out if a fox appears in any protected sign, you can filter by Vienna Classification and enter the code for Dogs, wolves, foxes (03.01.08) to find all representations with a dog, wolf or fox.
It is not possible to search for figurative elements just by entering a term (e.g. fox) in the search box.
Search for similar public signs is not exhaustive
Signs that are spelled similarly, sound similar or look similar to your sign could potentially lead to conflict. Such problematic signs are extremely hard to find – even if you use the advanced search options.
For a reliable basis for decision-making, it is therefore essential to commission a search by a specialist. They will carefully check whether your sign could come into conflict with protected trade marks and public signs. Please contact a trade mark search provider or a trade mark consultant.
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