The design application
A national design application is filed with the relevant office, in Switzerland the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property in Bern. International designs are filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva. European designs are filed by a European professional representative at the European Union Intellectual Property Office in Alicante.
For all member states of the Paris Convention (Paris Convention), which includes Switzerland, it is possible to apply for the same design in another member state within six months of filing the application, whereby the date of the first application can be taken over. Currently, this concerns 177 states: https://www.wipo.int/export/sites/www/treaties/en/documents/pdf/paris.pdf
The Swiss design application procedure takes a total of approximately 2 months. It starts with the filing of the application and ends with the registration or the final rejection of the design.
The five steps to a Swiss design
1. preliminary search
It may be advisable to conduct a similarity search before filing a design application. Such a search identifies confusingly similar designs that have already been registered. This is relevant because third parties who have registered older designs can defend themselves against a new registration and/or use of a confusingly similar design by filing a lawsuit in civil court.
2. provision and examination of the images
The design specialist will advise whether technical drawings or photographs of the corresponding design should be registered in order to obtain optimal design protection. Depending on the territorial extent, 6 or 8 images of the corresponding design should be registered from all sides.
3. file a design application
A national Swiss design application is filed electronically with the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property on behalf of the design owner. International designs are filed electronically with WIPO.
4. Design examination
After a design application has been filed, the competent office examines whether there are any absolute grounds for exclusion of protection.
The Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property mainly rejects the following designs ex officio:
– Designs that are contrary to public order or morality.
The Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property does not examine the existence of novelty or individual character of a design. It also does not examine whether the features of the design are exclusively technical in nature.
If all requirements are met, the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property registers the Swiss design. Thereafter, the 5-year renewal period begins to run.