In this list, you will find information on the current status of
- Swiss public signs, in accordance with Art. 18 para. 1 let. b of the Coat of Arms Protection Act
- public signs of foreign states, in accordance with Art. 18 para. 1 let. b of the Coat of Arms Protection Act
The list of international signs is updated twice a year, as soon as the WIPO publishes new signs in its database (WIPO Global Brand Database or 6ter Structured Search). This occurs on 1 April and 1 October.
The national public signs correspond to those notified by the cantons and communes, whereby only the signs that are presumed to be protected are displayed (no examination takes place).
Publication in this list does not provide IP protection. The list is to be used solely for information purposes. The IPI makes no claim to completeness of the list. The cantons are required to inform the IPI of the protected signs to be published in the list (Art. 18 para. 3 CAPA).
Trade mark applicants and other interested parties can search for protected public signs whose use may cause problems. However, this search is not a sufficient means of identifying all potential conflicts because it is limited.
In the database, you can search for characters, letters and numbers used in signs. Figurative elements are also coded using the Vienna Classification, which allows you to search for them.
The search term ‘fox’ will only find the word element ‘fox’ and not images of foxes. The Vienna Classification codes are often less specific but they are helpful in finding representations with similar sign components. For example, the code ‘Dogs, wolves, foxes’ (or 03.01.08) will find representations with dogs, wolves or foxes.
For several reasons, it is not sufficient to search the list of protected public signs if you wish to carry out a comprehensive search for similar signs, e.g. before applying for a trade mark. Even with the advanced search options, searching for similar signs in the list of protected public signs is subject to limitations. In addition, pre-registrations in the national trade mark register and in the database of international trade marks with protection extended to Switzerland must be considered for a trade mark application. And lastly, not only similar spellings should be taken into account, but also similar sounding and trade marks that are similar in appearance should be considered when evaluating the risk of confusion.
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