“Enormous significance” – Swiss Enforcement weighs in on importance of Iceland v Iceland

In an exclusive interview, Swiss Enforcement managing director David Stärkle reveals why the Iceland dispute at the EUIPO is important for the broader trademark ecosystem.

“Enormous significance” – Swiss Enforcement weighs in on importance of <em>Iceland v Iceland</em>
Gmerica trademarks stir up GameStop investors; Switzerland joins Geneva Act; Modelo dispute – news digest
3 Sep 2021

Gmerica trademarks stir up GameStop investors; Switzerland joins Geneva Act; Modelo dispute – news digest

In our latest round-up, we look at Alibaba’s auction site launching patent price guidance, a California cookie maker pushing back on Hershey infringement claims, and much more.

The Swiss register is stable and a fan favourite for foreign businesses, particularly those from the US
11 Jun 2021

The Swiss register is stable and a fan favourite for foreign businesses, particularly those from the US

Switzerland’s economy is highly integrated in the global market, with trademark data revealing how the country is an important consideration for expanding brands.


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21 Oct 2021

Swiss authorities relax examination practices for trademarks featuring a place name

With exceptions, it will no longer be a prerequisite to limit goods and services to their geographical origin for trademarks containing an indication of source. The Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property appears to be becoming more flexible, aligning its approach with that of the European Union. Read more

19 Oct 2021

Federal Supreme Court holds that shape of Nespresso capsules is technically necessary

The Swiss Federal Supreme Court has put an end to the long-running dispute between Nestlé and Ethical Coffee, which had launched biodegradable coffee capsules compatible with the Nespresso system. Read more

20 Aug 2021

Pirates and rum: only an allusive and loose association, says the Swiss Federal Administrative Court

Bacardi has had mixed results in its attempt to obtain the revocation of two marks containing the word element ‘thePirate.com’ based on its PYRAT mark. Read more

19 Aug 2021

The Swiss response to the concerning issue of counterfeiting

Recent reports reveal the damage of counterfeiting to Switzerland’s largest industries. Companies, government bodies and non-profits are all taking action, utilising AI, blockchain, legislation and education to fight this illicit activity. Read more


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22 Sep 2020

Dr Dre trademark divorce battle; Louisville counterfeit seizure; WIPO’s Gurry looks to the future – news digest

In our latest round-up, we look at a UK drinks firm being sued by Sazerac Brands, an AI-based start-up launching a new online brand protection offering, how filings are holding steady during the pandemic, and much more. Read more

25 Aug 2020

Innovation at the Swiss IP Office: spotlight on non-core tools and services

The director general of the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI) shares the innovative tools and services it has launched or is developing for the future. Read more

17 Mar 2020

Trademark procedures and strategies: Switzerland

Any natural or legal person can apply for trademark registration in Switzerland (restrictions apply to geographical marks). Read more

26 Jun 2019

FIFA reflects on scoring an IP enforcement win at the 2018 World Cup in Russia

Daniel Zohny, IP head at FIFA, looks back at the intense workload taken on by his team during the 2018 World Cup and looks forward to the next tournament as the worthy winner of WTR’s Sports, Entertainment and Media Team of the Year. Read more

Brand management

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29 Mar 2021

Nestlé scours for attractive brands to keep itself on top of the market

The Swiss multinational has an arsenal of iconic brands and local favourites, which it keeps up to date by adding and dropping businesses in line with evolving consumer tastes. Read more

21 Jan 2021

Swissness – recent developments in the protection of the ‘Swiss’ brand

Following a recent evaluation of the Swissness legislation, which came into force four years ago, the Federal Council has noted that there is no need to revise the legislation, but there is still a need for action and enforcement - particularly abroad. Read more

21 Dec 2020

Water brands sale and Starbucks deal add to Nestlé’s winning record

José Checa, general counsel brand and marketing properties at Nestlé, reveals the role that his team played in some of the company’s biggest successes of late. Read more

2 Oct 2020

Daren Tang starts at WIPO; Clarivate completes CPA Global acquisition; LVMH sues Tiffany – news digest

In our latest round-up, we look at William Hill accepting a $3.7 billion bid from Caesars Entertainment, Louis Vuitton being named the most-seized brand in South Korea, Antifa being largely absent on global trademark registers, and much more. Read more

Enforcement and Litigation

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30 Jun 2021

Federal Administrative Court confirms that ECOSHELL is descriptive

In a decision highlighting, once again, that Swiss practice is very strict when it comes to distinctiveness, the Federal Administrative Court has confirmed that the mark ECOSHELL was descriptive for certain goods in Classes 24 and 25. Read more

23 Apr 2021

Five European Legal Updates you may have missed

WTR’s Legal Updates are written by a select panel of over 160 leading experts who analyse the latest trademark-related developments and decisions in more than 60 jurisdictions. Read more

21 Apr 2021

SWISS RE - WE MAKE THE WORLD MORE RESILIENT: Federal Supreme Court confirms that services need not be limited to those of Swiss origin

This decision of the Swiss Federal Supreme Court should be welcomed by global companies with a registered seat in Switzerland which seek to protect signs incorporating geographical indications. Read more

23 Mar 2021

Federal Administrative Court considers similarity of foodstuff and restaurant services in ZARA case

The Swiss Federal Administrative Court has refused to find a similarity between pasta products and catering services, holding that this would over-stretch the specialty principle. Read more


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15 Oct 2020

Innovation at WIPO: spotlight on alternative dispute resolution at IP offices

An exclusive guest post on how WIPO has been working with global IP offices to promote the advantages of alternative dispute resolution services. Read more

4 Mar 2020

Singapore’s Daren Tang wins nomination to be next WIPO director general

After weeks of lobbying, Daren Tang of Singapore has won the nomination to be the next director general of the World Intellectual Property Organisation. Read more

18 Feb 2020

WIPO director general elections: Colombian nominee Marco M Alemán exclusive interview

We speak to Colombia's candidate for the WIPO director general position, Marco M Alemán, who explains how his expertise and intimate understanding of WIPO’s inherently multilateral ethos make him the ideal candidate for the job. Read more

13 Feb 2020

Inside the WIPO director general candidate interviews – exclusive guest post

Last week, behind closed doors, interviews took place with the eight candidates for the WIPO director general position. In this exclusive guest post, Dr Sarasija Padmanabhan provides observations from diplomatic sources that attended. Read more

Law Firms

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21 Feb 2019

Why every trademark lawyer should spend time in-house: exclusive interview with Bacardi’s Anna Panka

While legal know-how is critical for law firm practitioners, an understanding of the corporate business environment should not be underestimated. That is the message conveyed by Anna Panka, senior counsel at Bacardi, in an exclusive interview with WTR. Read more

8 Jan 2019

Protecting and enforcing design rights: Switzerland

Swiss design is characterised by its hybrid status – it is influenced by the German tradition of functionalism and the Italian radical design of the 1960s. Swiss design lies somewhere between ‘form follows function’ and ‘anything goes’ – it is functional yet rich; linear while unexpected; practical and refreshing. Read more

29 Jun 2018

Positive ‘Swissness’ results, IACC and EURid partner up, and the first family of counterfeit hunting: news round-up

We look at a new law in China that could boost the fight against fakes, a comedian seeking over $100 million in infringement damages, a leaked email revealing “efforts to trademark Clean Meat”, and much more. Read more

IP Offices

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5 Feb 2020

WIPO leadership field narrows as call made to shift focus away from political power plays

The WIPO director general election has become mired in backroom manoeuvring, with one IP expert urging the various countries to “focus on who is the right person for the job”, rather than political point scoring. Read more

24 Jul 2019

China, India, US rise; Japan, Singapore, UK fall – Global Innovation Index 2019 report released

WIPO has revealed the world’s most innovative countries. In a new report it places Switzerland, Sweden and the United States at the top of the list, with the Netherlands, Singapore and the United Kingdom falling down the rankings. Read more

12 Mar 2019

Alibaba reaches settlement, new Hong Kong IP director, and Swiss IP office issues fakes warning: news digest

In our latest round-up, we look at the New Zealand IP office issuing a stark warning against misleading mislead invoices, $1.1 million worth of counterfeits stopped on Canada-US border, and much more. Read more

6 Apr 2018

Trademark offices prepare for the future as users give poor performance grades

The performance levels of the Chinese, Brazilian and Indian trademark offices have clear room for improvement but change could be afoot. Read more


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13 Mar 2017

Federal Supreme Court: forum delicti requires specific proof of actual or imminent harmful act in relevant territory

The Federal Supreme Court has ruled that, for a court to have jurisdiction based on <i>forum delicti</i>, a harmful act must have actually taken place, or be imminent, in the territory of that court. As the claimant was unable to provide sufficient proof of an infringement within the relevant territory, its claim of trademark infringement and unfair competition was dismissed due to a lack of jurisdiction.

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30 Jan 2015

'Renewal snatching' found to constitute unfair competition

A WIPO expert's decision under the SWITCH dispute resolution policy (for ‘.ch’ and ‘.li’ domain names) is the first case under Swiss law that deals with ‘renewal snatching’ - that is, the practice of registering lapsed domain names. Although the expert found that there was no clear infringement of the claimant's trademark rights, he held that the snatching of the domain name constituted unfair competition and ordered its transfer.

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1 Sep 2014

Mark owner forfeits rights in domain name by waiting eight years to file complaint

A WIPO panellist has refused to order the transfer of the domain name 'ergoline-service.ch' to JK-Holding, the owner of the ERGOLINE mark. Among other things, the panellist held that JK-Holding had forfeited its rights, if any, by waiting for eight years to file the complaint after becoming aware of the allegedly infringing use.

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24 Apr 2013

WIPO expert refuses to recognise well-known status of ELLE mark

A WIPO expert has held that the domain name 'elle-agency.ch' did not infringe Hachette Filipacchi Presse’s trademark ELLE. Although it was established that <i>Elle</i> is a widely-known fashion magazine which sells over six million copies per issue in over 90 countries, the expert refused to recognise its status as a famous trademark in Switzerland.

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Portfolio Management

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29 Jul 2021


The basic principles for trademark protection in Switzerland are contained in the Federal Act on the Protection of Trademarks and Indications of Source and the Trademark Protection Ordinance. Read more

20 Nov 2020

UMBRA SHEER held to be descriptive for Class 3 goods

This decision of the Swiss Federal Administrative Court highlights that English is commonly understood in Switzerland and that only lesser-used words will be deemed not to be known by the public. Read more

27 Aug 2020

SUNDAY v KOLID SUNDAY: strict criteria for proving that a trademark is notorious in Switzerland

This decision of the Swiss Federal Administrative Court shows that, while prima facie evidence of notoriety may be sufficient, it must be strong enough to convince the court that the mark was well known before the date of application of the later trademark. Read more

22 Jul 2020

SWISS RE – WE MAKE THE WORLD MORE RESILIENT found to not be misleading

This decision of the Federal Administrative Court will be welcome news for global companies registered in Switzerland which seek to protect signs that incorporate geographical indications and use Switzerland as the starting point of their international filings. Read more

Trademark law

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15 Mar 2019

Plain packaging is a trademark issue, not a tobacco issue – exclusive interview with JT International

Ronald van Tuijl of JT International explains to WTR the distinctive set of trademark challenges that his team faces, what he looks for when enlisting law firms, how plain packaging is affecting his practice, and more. Read more

10 Sep 2018

Trademark procedures and strategies: Switzerland

Any natural or legal person can apply for trademark registration in Switzerland (restrictions apply to geographical marks). Foreign applicants must indicate a service address for use in Switzerland. Read more

5 Jul 2018

Federer logo clash with Nike highlights contractual pitfalls for sports stars

This week the Wimbledon tennis tournament got underway, with media reports noting how reigning champion Roger Federer “stunned onlookers by turning out on Centre Court in Uniqlo gear”. The focus then turned to the absence of his often-used RF logo, which is caught up in an ownership wrangle.

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30 May 2018

Blow for Storck as sweets packaging is held to lack distinctiveness

In a decision which highlights its strict approach to packaging registration, the Swiss Federal Administrative Court has upheld the refusal of Storck's application for blue, white and grey packaging in Class 30.

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