A patent application must be filed with the competent office, in Switzerland with the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property, and must contain a description, one or more claims, drawings if any, and an abstract.
The wording of the description and claims must be done with particular care, since a poorly worded application often cannot be salvaged. In addition, the technical documents must be accompanied by formal documents and fees must be paid.
The five steps to a Swiss patent
1. Preliminary search
It is recommended to conduct a prior art search before filing a patent application. With such a search it is possible to better assess the chances of patentability of your invention and to better define what your exact contribution is in relation to the known prior art.
2. File a patent application
A Swiss patent application must be filed with the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property and must contain a description, one or more claims, drawings if any, and an abstract. The wording of the description and claims must be done with particular care, since a poorly worded application often cannot be salvaged. In addition, formal documents must accompany the technical file and fees must be paid.
A patent application remains secret for 18 months after filing. Then the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property publishes the application online. From that point on, your invention is available to everyone and is part of the prior art. No one else in the world should be able to obtain a patent for an application directed to the same subject matter and filed after the date of publication of your application.
4. The request for examination
Approximately two years after filing the application, the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property asks the applicant whether the application should actually be examined. The request for examination is made by responding to the Office’s request in due time by paying the appropriate examination fee. Since novelty and inventive step are not examined during the grant procedure in Switzerland, the examination of a Swiss application focuses on the formal aspects. The formal examination in Switzerland is very strict and a poorly drafted application is often rejected on formal grounds. A rejection can be avoided if you consult a patent attorney from the beginning.
5. The grant
If all requirements are met, the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property grants a Swiss patent. It is published and is valid for Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Once the patent is published, you can enforce your rights in Switzerland and take action against a possible infringer.
The procedures abroad are very similar.