The number of trade marks active in Switzerland has continued to rise. At the end of 2022, there were almost 550,000 active trade marks. The Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI) recommends searching databases before applying to register a trade mark. This helps to avoid conflicts with third parties. It is also worth conducting a search before applying to protect inventions and designs.
Last year, the IPI received 16,728 trade mark applications, following a record 19,279 applications in 2021. The total number of active trade marks increased again in 2022. At the end of the year, there were 549,100 active trade marks (2021: 534,960). 97% of applications were submitted via the online application platform eTrademark. If a trade mark application fulfils the legal requirements, it is entered in the Swiss trade mark register and therefore protected.
Prevent trade mark disputes by conducting a search
Having a registered trade mark does not automatically protect owners from conflicts. For example, in certain cases in the past, applicants did not carry out any searches on their trade mark name in advance. When it receives an application, the IPI does not check whether an identical or similar trade mark has already been entered in the trade mark register. Simple searches can be carried out in the IPI’s trade mark database and other public databases. If in doubt, it is best to consult a professional trade mark search provider. Anyone who chooses not to carry out a search risks costly disputes and could even lose their trade mark.
An Assisted Patent Search offers clarity
Last year, 1,546 inventions were filed for patent protection in Switzerland (2021: 1,555). At the end of 2022, a total of 151,137 patents were active in Switzerland. These include patents filed with the European Patent Office (EPO) which are also effective in Switzerland. It is also recommended to carry out searches before applying for patent protection. By obtaining information through searches, applicants can avoid investing their energy, for example, in an invention that is no longer novel – an important criterion for patentability. The IPI’s Assisted Patent Search serves as an initial step towards gaining clarity. The service was utilised 845 times in 2022. Start-ups, SMEs, universities and individual inventors can obtain valuable information on other topics in addition to novelty and patentability.
Packaging dominates design applications
In 2022, 614 designs were registered with the IPI (2021: 811). As a result, a total of 9,456 designs and 33,534 objects were active at the end of 2022. This high number is explained by the fact that several objects in the same category can be registered in a single application for design protection. The IPI received the most applications for packaging, timepieces and IT devices. The same advice applies when applying for design protection: search first.
Editor: IPR Daily-Ann