Revised trademark guidelines come into force

The Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IGE) has revised its trademark guidelines in order to take account of recent case law and legislative amendments. The revised guidelines came into effect on July 1 2008. 
The main features of the revised guidelines are as follows:
  • Electronic publication in the Swissreg database will replace paper publication in the Swiss Official Gazette for trademarks, and in the Swiss Patent Gazette for patents, designs and topographies. This will substantially shorten the turnaround time for recording registrations, renewals and modifications. The IGE will now send a single communication to confirm a recordal.
  • Colour trademarks can now be published in colour; the same applies to certificates of registration.
  • Two-dimensional elements that may influence the general impression of a mark will be taken into account when assessing the registrability of three-dimensional marks.
  • The opposition fee (Sfr800) will be refunded if the opposition proceedings are aborted as a result of late payment or late submission of the notice of opposition. Half of the opposition fee will be refunded if the opposition proceedings are terminated without a decision of the IGE (eg, amicable settlement, withdrawal of opposition and cancellation of registration). The opposition fee will also be refunded if the parties reach a 'qualified settlement'.
  • Restrictions on the specifications of international registrations that have been refused protection in Switzerland must no longer be filed in advance with the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization. The IGE will now examine proposed restrictions; if the restrictions are accepted, the IGE will transmit them directly to the International Bureau.
  • The fees for the recordal of restrictions on the specifications of a trademark registration and for changes to the rules for collective and guarantee marks (Sfr100) have been abolished. The surcharge for late renewal has been reduced from Sfr100 to Sfr50. The fee for the continuation of proceedings has been reduced from Sfr200 to Sfr100.
In addition, as of September 3 2008, the fees for designating Switzerland in one to three classes of the Nice Classification will be reduced from Sfr450 to Sfr350. Renewal fees will be reduced from Sfr600 to Sfr350, and class fees for renewals will be abolished.
Alfred M Strahlberg, Strahlberg & Partners, Wabern

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