Easing of practice by IPI in trademark registration proceedings (II)
The IPI eases its registration practice regarding unknown foreign geographical designations and re-evaluates the need to keep them free.
The IPI has reviewed its practice regarding foreign geographical indications that are unknown to the relevant Swiss public (Guidelines in Trademark Matters, 1.3.2022, Part 5, para. 220.127.116.11). Based on all relevant circumstances, a new weighting and associated easing of practice is necessary, because it has become apparent that the supreme court criteria cannot be assessed with sufficient reliability in the registration procedure. Therefore, the IGE will now assume that there is no need for free use of unknown foreign geographical designations when examining corresponding signs. This change takes into account the fact that, according to settled case law, borderline cases are to be registered and that a thorough examination by the civil courts is reserved.
This easing of practice does not apply to unknown Swiss geographical designations and all substantive principles relating to the need to keep a name free remain valid.
The change in practice came into force on December 1, 2022 and has been applied to all pending applications since then.