Institute practice (archive)


Following changes to Article 42 of the Trade Mark Protection Act and Article 21 of the Trade Mark Protection Ordinance, the IPI has taken the opportunity to principally waive the requirement for the filing of authorisation for opposition procedures with effect from 1 July 2011.


The IPI will only request an authorisation if doubt exists concerning the ability to act as a representative(Article 11 Administrative Procedure Act and Article 5 Trade Mark Protection Ordinance). In addition, for applications for full or partial cancellation, an authorisation must always be submitted – even if applications have been made in the event of opposition procedures. An exception only exists when the representative is already registered in the trade mark register at the time of filing (Notification IPI in sic! 2004, 373, No. 4).


The directives concerning trade marks will be updated at the next possible opportunity.  


The CPC (in German, French, Italian, pdf 708 KB) entered into force on 1 January 2011 (Harmonising civil procedure legislation). It replaces the 26 cantonal civil procedure legislations. Based on the Concordat of 27 March 1969 concerning arbitration, the third part of the CPC (Art. 353 ff CPC) regulates arbitration cases internal to Switzerland (German BBl 2006 7221, 7240, French, Italian).

In this regard, we remind that the IPI can only enforce arbitral decisions if a certificate of enforceability is produced (PMMBl 1976 I, 9, 10). Pursuant to the new Art. 356 CPC, the Canton of the arbitration court designates a high court which is competent for the said certificate concerning the arbitral decision.


In a decision from 7 April 2009, the Federal Supreme Court has endorsed the appeal against the ruling of the Federal Administrative Court, thereby recognising the original distinctiveness of a melody without verbal elements for products of Class 30. The Federal Supreme Court has established new rules of experience or examination criteria for acoustic trademarks in a reversal of Institute’s examination principles which defined that melodies without linguistic accompaniment basically lack original distinctiveness (see FC 4A_566/2008 – Acoustic Trademarks, Ext. 2.5.2). Based on this ruling, the Institute has changed its practice and now classifies acoustic trademarks as conventional signs, analogue to word and figurative marks. Acoustic signs that constitute a trademark are basically to be registered as such, in accordance with Art. 1 Para. 1 of the Trademark Act, unless a reason for exclusion exists in relation to the products or services for which it is used, such as the descriptive character or conventionality.


More information in German.

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