Please find below the most frequently asked questions.

When can the ® symbol be used in Switzerland?

A trademark can only use the ® symbol if it is protected as a trademark in Switzerland, or in other words, if it is recorded on the Swiss trademark register. Use of the ® symbol is optional and does not alter the rights of the trademark holder in any way.

The symbol simply indicates that a trademark has been registered and can therefore help prevent infringements. Anyone who uses a non-registered trademark with the ® symbol risks contravening the federal law on unfair competition and may face sanctions.

What are the criteria for using the term “Swiss”?

The terms “Swiss” and “Switzerland”, used on their own or in conjunction with other words, such as “Made in Switzerland”, “Swiss recipe” or “Swiss quality” is an indication of provenance, i.e. a direct reference to the geographical origin of the products or services for which it is used (art. 47 of the Trademarks Protection Act (LPM). Figurative signs such as the Swiss cross, the Matterhorn or William Tell are also viewed as indications of Swiss provenance.

In general terms, producers and service providers do not require any kind of authorisation to use the terms “Switzerland” and “Swiss” as indications of provenance. They can therefore be used freely provided they are accurate, i.e. the products or services concerned are actually of Swiss origin. A business that wishes to use these terms must therefore check that its products or services fulfil the criteria for Swiss provenance laid down in law. It is only if a dispute arises that they will have to demonstrate compliance with the legal requirements associated with provenance.

The criteria for Swiss provenance laid down in law take into account the specific nature of the product and are therefore different for natural products, foodstuffs, industrial products and services (cf. art. 48a, 48b, 48c and 49 LPM).