January 2017 Swissness: entry into force of the new law since January 1st, 2017
On 21 June 2013, the Swiss Parliament adopted the so-called “Swissness” legislation. The law on trademark protection was amended and the legislation on the Swiss coat of arms revised in full. On 2 September 2015, the implementing regulations for the new rules were agreed by the Federal Council. The new law came into effect on 1 January 2017.
The criteria for use of the term ‘Swiss’ and the Swiss cross have been clarified and they now enjoy stronger protection, with the aim of preserving the added value generated by both elements, which are highly desirable and frequently misused, at both the national and international level.
The key points are as follows:
- The (Swiss) provenance of natural products (such as plants, mineral water or meat) is defined on the basis of a single criterion, which varies by product (for example, the place where they are harvested for plant products);
- For foodstuffs, at least 80% of the weight of raw materials must come from Switzerland and the processing that gives them their essential characteristics must also take place in Switzerland;
- For industrial products, at least 60% of the cost (including R&D costs) must be incurred in Switzerland and the processing that gives them their essential characteristics must also take place in Switzerland;
- For service companies, the business’s registered office must be located in Switzerland and the company must actually be run from Switzerland;
- The Swiss cross can only be registered as a trademark for products and services of Swiss origin;
- The Swiss cross can be used on products that fulfil the criteria indicating that they come from Switzerland; similarly, the cross may be used in relation to services that fulfil the criteria for “Swiss” origin;
- Use of the Swiss Confederation’s coat of arms by private firms is prohibited without special authorisation.
Use of the Swiss Confederation’s coat of arms by private firms is prohibited without special authorisation.