Swissness and brands: how can you affirm a true Swiss identity for a product or service? (Part two)

Le Swissness et les marques : que faut-il afin de revendiquer le caractère suisse d’un produit ou service ? Deuxième partie

As we already have discussed industrial and natural products in our previous issue, we’ll now look at how we can define Swissness for food products and services.

For food products, at least 80% of the raw ingredient weight of the product must come from Switzerland, and the food must be processed in Switzerland. There are however certain exceptions to this 80% rule, due to self-sufficiency rates for products which do not exist in Switzerland or, for reasons out of the control of the producers, which are not currently available.  For example, if the self-sufficiency rate for cocoa is lower than 20%, this ingredient will not be taken into account in the calculations made by Swiss chocolate companies. On the other hand, the crucial transformation from cocoa to chocolate must take place in Switzerland – this is, for example, the case for Villars(R) chocolate, who can still say that they produce Swiss chocolate.

In terms of services, companies may use the “Swiss made” label if they own an actual decision-making site in Switzerland.  This must be a strategic site in which the company’s real, core activities are conducted, and not just a “letter box” company location. Business Monitor[1], a Swiss economic news company which provides industrial and commercial research and analysis services for Swiss companies, can, therefore, affirm their Swissness either abroad or in Switzerland.

Depending on their marketing needs, the company can choose to either include the Swiss Cross in their trademark as a “Swiss certified” label or use it next to their brand without any trademark protection.

If the “Swiss” label (or public symbols such as the Swiss Cross) is used illegally, the party responsible may be imprisoned for up to one year (five for a professional) or be required to pay a fine of up to 1,080,000 CHF[2].

See part 1 of the article.

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[2]Art. 61 ss LPM.