6 good reasons to protect your intellectual property in Switzerland

6 good reasons to protect your intellectual property in Switzerland

If you are about to protect your innovative project, you have probably thought about the countries or regions in which you want to apply. Have you thought about Switzerland?

At first sight, the interest for a companyto make investments to obtain an intellectual property title in Switzerland might seem minor.

Indeed, such a title only covers a market limited to around eight million inhabitants and a relatively small geographical area on a European scale. In addition, it requires, in particular in trade mark matters, the conduct of a procedure independent from the European’s.

But such a reasoning would be tantamount to ignoring the following six reasons, which fully justify the acquisition of intellectual property rights in Switzerland:

1) A central position

Although it is not part of the European Union, Switzerland is centrally located within the Union. As a result, a significant proportion of the goods that travel in Europe by road from one EU country to another are at some point required to transit through the Swiss road network.

However, Swiss customs are the only ones who are actually present within the Schengen territory, and only act on the basis of documents valid in Switzerland!

The Swiss intellectual property title then becomes very interesting – indeed, if the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property informs the Swiss customs of the existence of titles, the latter in return regularly call on the Institute when goods enter the territory.

2) A leading position in certain technical fields

Despite its small size, Switzerland remains a leader in watchmaking in particular, but also in the pharmaceutical industry, machine tools, precision mechanics, microtechnology and fields related to this expertise, for example in the defence industry. This position is based on a highly developed network of small and medium-sized companies.

Thus, by filing your patents in Switzerland, you ensure that you cover certain markets at source by prohibiting production where it usually remains executed.

3) A strong presence of multinational companies

For historical tax reasons, many multinationals have chosen Switzerland as their headquarters.

For example, it may be useful to have a Swiss title that can take advantage of the courts’ jurisdiction and directly attack a registered office rather than a regional branch.

4) Cutting-edge research

The Swiss title is justified when one takes into account the presence on Swiss territory of internationally renowned research institutes, such as the Polytechnic Schools of Zurich and Lausanne, which, under the impetus of a pragmatic research policy similar to US practice, have developed their cooperation with industry, both with multinationals of Swiss (Roche, Logitech) and foreign (Intel, Google) origin.

Thus, Switzerland can be a relevant place to protect you from major industry players who have engaged in part of their research and development in Switzerland.

5) An effective judicial system

It is interesting to take into account the Federal Patent Court and its proven effectiveness. Indeed, this body takes its decisions within an investigation period that generally does not exceed one year.

Although they apply a priori only in Switzerland, such a decision nevertheless provides a point of view that can be taken into account by other European judicial bodies, particularly at a time when the unitary patent and the unified patent jurisdiction are still in their infancy.

6) A moderate price

Finally, you will be surprised by the very low cost of acquiring Swiss intellectual property rights.

Indeed, official taxes are relatively low, and consulting fees remain measured and comparable to the European market.

Thus, at least for these reasons, obtaining protection in Switzerland is, contrary to optional, highly recommended!

Thomas Rossier