• Swissness

    and the “Switzerland brand”

What do I need to know?

In certain circumstances a .swiss domain name may constitute an indication of source within the meaning of Article 47ff of the Federal Act on the Protection of Trade Marks and Indications of Source:

Art. 47 Principle

1 Indications of source are direct or indirect references to the geographical origin of goods or services, including references to their properties or the quality associated with their origin.

2 Geographical names and signs that are not understood by the relevant public as indicating a certain origin of the goods or services are not considered indications of source within the meaning of paragraph 1.

3 It is prohibited to use:
a. incorrect indications of source;
b. designations that may be confused with an incorrect indication of source;
c. a name, an address or a trade mark associated with goods or services of a different origin where this could be misleading.

4 Regional or local indications of source for services are considered to be correct if such services satisfy the criteria of origin for the country concerned as a whole.

What are indications of origin?

An indication of source is a reference making it possible to indicate the geographical origin of a good or a service. Unlike the mark which assigns a product or a service to a company in particular, the indication of source assigns it to a specific place/region.

What are consumer expectations?

Depending on the circumstances, a consumer might expect to find products originating from Switzerland on a .swiss internet site. If this is the case, any risk of consumers being misled concerning the origin of the products offered must be avoided.

What will change in the future?

From 1 January 2017, new rules will govern the use of “Swiss” indications of source. They are intended to protect the “Swiss trade mark” from fraudulent uses and to preserve its value. Further information on these new rules can be found here.

Where can I find information?

Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property
Stauffacherstrasse 65 / 59g
CH – 3003 Berne

Phone: +41 31 377 77 77


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