Explanation of terms

On this page, you will find explanations of the terms used in the Trade Mark Database. They are listed in alphabetic order.

 

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

  

A

  • Acquired distinctiveness
    Acquired distinctiveness
    means that a sign belonging to the public domain has gained recognition on the market as being a trade mark for the goods or services of a particular company and can therefore be protected.
  • Application, trade mark application
    Following a successful examination on filing, trade mark applications are published on www.swissreg.ch and entered in the Trade Mark Database. If a registered sign is later registered as a trade mark, it will be protected retroactively from the filing date.

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C

  • Cancellation, cancellation date
    In the Trade Mark Database, you will find all the trade marks and trade mark applications that have been cancelled since July 2006.
  • Category of trade mark

    • Guarantee mark
      A guarantee mark guarantees that goods or services possess specific characteristics (e.g. quality). It can be used by anyone whose goods or services fulfil the legally defined requirements.
    • Geographical mark
      Protected designations of origin and geographical indications (PDO/PGI, e.g. ‘Gruyère’ for cheese), protected wine designations (e.g. ‘Epesses’ in the canton of Vaud), as well as geographical indications regulated in a Federal Council Ordinance (e.g. ‘Swiss Made’ for watches), can be registered with the IPI as geographical marks.
    • Individual mark
      A company identifies its products and services with an individual mark. It is the most common category of trade mark.
    • Collective mark
      A collective mark represents the goods or services of an association of manufacturing, trading or service companies. A collective mark cannot be filed by a natural person. Regulations determine who is allowed to use the trade mark.

Further information on the trade mark categories.

  • Colour claim
    If figurative or word/figurative marks are registered with a colour claim (e.g. red), they are only protected in this colour. Without a colour claim, a trade mark is protected in all colours.
  

E

  • Expiry, expiry date
    After the first term of protection of ten years, trade mark protection can be renewed indefinitely for ten years at a time. The end date of the current ten-year term of protection is recorded in the database.

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F

  • fig., figurative
    ((fig.)) for ‘figurative’ appears in the title of all trade marks that are represented graphically – figurative marks, word/figurative marks, acoustic marks, motion marks, three-dimensional marks and position marks.
  • Filed, filing date
    The filing date determines the start of the term of protection of the trade mark. It corresponds to the point in time at which the complete trade mark application was received by the IPI. However, changes to the application may cause the filing date to be postponed.

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G

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I

Further information on the trade mark registration procedure.

  • IP right status, status

    • Active: includes all valid trade marks and trade mark applications entered in the register.
    • Cancelled: the database includes all the trade marks and trade mark applications that have been cancelled since July 2006.

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N

  • Nice Classification
    In their application, the trade mark applicant must indicate the goods and services for which they want the trade mark to be registered. To do so, they use the Nice Classification, which divides all goods and services into 45 classes. Classes 1 to 34 contain goods and classes 35 to 45 contain services.

    A list of the headings of all 45 classes.

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P

  • Priority claim
    If foreign priority is claimed for a trade mark when it is filed in Switzerland, trade mark protection begins on the day of this first filing.

    Foreign priority can be claimed provided it took place within six months prior to the filing in Switzerland.
  • Publication, publication date
    In the database, the publication date refers to the official publication of new entries. Up until the end of June 2008, new trade marks were published in the Swiss Commercial Gazette (SHAB). Since 1 July 2018, they are published in the electronic IP rights database Swissreg.

    No applications will be found by the publication date filter.

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R

  • Reason for cancellation

    • Cancellation at owner’s request
      A trade mark owner can cancel their trade mark at any time.
    • Cancellation due to cancellation procedure
      If a trade mark has not been used for more than five years, anyone can submit a request to the IPI for it to be cancelled via a simplified procedure.
    • Revocation
      Trade mark owners can file opposition to a registration up to three months after the trade mark has been published if their trade mark could be confused with the earlier one. If the opposition is approved by the IPI, the earlier trade mark is completely or partially revoked, i.e. cancelled.

      You can find all of the IPI’s substantive decisions regarding opposition proceedings since 2008 in the IPI’s trade mark examination support tool (only available in German, French and Italian).
    • Rejection on formal grounds
      For trade mark applications, formal deficiencies include, for example, an inadequate representation of the trade mark or an inaccurate list of goods and services. If the applicant does not remedy the deficiencies within the time limit, the IPI rejects the application.
    • Withdrawal
      If the trade mark applicant or their representative withdraws the application, it is cancelled.
    • Cancellation due to court decision
      At any point, a claim against a registered trade mark can be brought before a civil court, for example, if the trade mark infringes another one. If the court invalidates the trade mark, it is cancelled.
    • Cancellation due to non-renewal
      A trade mark is protected for ten years from the date of filing. Protection can then be renewed indefinitely for 10 years at a time. If not renewed in time, trade mark protection expires.
    • Rejection on absolute grounds
      Signs which belong to the public domain, signs which are misleading or signs which are contrary to public policy, morality or applicable law are excluded from trade mark protection on absolute grounds. Further information on the grounds for refusal.
    • Rejection due to failure to pay fees
      A trade mark application is cancelled if the application fees are not paid within the time limit.

  • Registration (registration date)
    A sign is registered as a trade mark in the Swiss trade mark register following a successful substantive examination. Usually, on the same day, the registration of the trade mark will take legal effect and be published on www.swissreg.ch. This marks the beginning of the three-month opposition period. Further information on the trade mark registration procedure.
  • Renewed trade mark
    Up until 1.4.1993, the term of protection was 20 years and if renewed, trade marks were registered as new trade marks. The number listed under ‘Renewed trade mark’ corresponds to the trade mark number prior to 1.4.1993.

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T

  • Type of trade mark

    • Acoustic marks
      Short melodies (jingles or promotional songs) can be protected as acoustic marks.
    • Motion mark
      A motion mark consists of moving images or words.
    • Figurative mark
      Figurative marks consist only of visual elements without any word elements.
    • Three-dimensional mark
      A three-dimensional mark can be a three-dimensional sign that is displayed on goods, for example, or it may be the goods or packaging itself as long as the form is distinctive.
    • Colour mark
      A colour mark only consists of one colour or a colour combination. A colour may only be protected as a trade mark if it has acquired distinctiveness and gained the character of a trade mark through everyday use.
    • Word/figurative mark
      Word/figurative marks consist of words and images. Graphically designed lettering may also be protected as a word/figurative mark.
    • Position mark
      A position mark is a sign which is always displayed in the same dimensions and in the same position on goods.
    • Word mark
      Word marks only consist of characters such as letters, numbers and special characters.
    • Hologram
      A hologram mark consists of a three-dimensional representation of an object or several objects.

Further information on the trade mark types.

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