Commercial Law: How do I protect my idea and my trademark?

You have just developed your own idea and/or trademark and are looking to protect it? It is perfectly legitimate to want to ensure its ownership and receive the rewards. Lawrence explains how to do it!

The protection of an idea:

Swiss law does not protect an idea per se. However, the form in which it is expressed can be protected by intellectual property.

Intellectual property has several forms:

  • For technical inventions by obtaining a patent 

To obtain a patent, the invention must be new and never have been presented to the public. A patent protects only those ideas that can be defined as an “invention”.

 

  • The name of a product or a logo is registered as a trademark.

 

  • The shape of a product design deposit

A design is registered for a maximum of 25 years and can be renewed. In order to be registered, the design must be, according to the law, “new and original”.

 

  • Literary and artistic works, software and programs, advertising texts, copyrights, etc. are protected by copyright

Copyright is automatically in force from the creation of a work until 70 years after its author’s death. If no provision is made, the work will then be “royalty-free”.

 

Trademark protection:

The registration of a trademark gives the right to intellectual property. 

By definition, a trademark makes it possible to differentiate your company’s products and services from those of another. The law requires that a trademark must have a character that distinguishes it, such as a word, an image or a logo, or a combination of both. 

Warning: A trademark does not protect your goods and services per se, but prevents another company from using your name to exploit similar goods and/or services.

 

The registration of a trademark in Switzerland, thus protecting it under Swiss law only, is done at the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI/IGE).  Protection for the first 10 years costs CHF 550 and is renewable.

There are two conditions:

  1. The trademark must have a distinctive character
  2. The mark must not be misleading, infringe the law in force or be contrary to morality. 

If your company is based abroad and you wish to register your trademark in Switzerland, you will need a representative (legal or natural person) residing in Switzerland.

There are several options for registering your trademark abroad and protecting it in these countries:

  • Make a direct deposit with the competent institution in each country;
  • Make a filing with the European Union Office for Intellectual Property (EUIPO), protecting it in the European Union;
  • Make a filing with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which uses the Madrid System to protect your trademark in the 100 member states. 

 

Finally, here are our essential tips:

  1. Even if protecting your intellectual property is not mandatory, it is the best way to guarantee the security of your idea and your legitimate profits. 
  2. Make sure you do it in advance! You will be ahead of the competition that may prevent you from protecting your intellectual property.
  3. Make sure your idea doesn’t already exist! This will allow you to make small changes in your application to avoid future litigation.
  4. Call on a professional! Lawrence is there to accompany you and save you a considerable amount of time in your research. 

 

Lawrence helps you register your trademark and protect your idea!

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