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6 good reasons to protect your Intellectual Property in Switzerland

At first glance, it may not seem worthwhile to invest in a Swiss IP right. The Swiss market only represents eight million people, and covers a relatively small portion of the European continent. In addition, the procedures involved are entirely different to those enacted by the European Union Intellectual Property Office, especially concerning brands.

However, this reasoning skips over some very material advantages of protecting your Intellectual Property in Switzerland. Here are six good reasons:

1) Switzerland is centrally situated

Although Switzerland is not part of the European Union, its central location in the continent means that a large portion of merchandises being distributed by road from one European country to another will transit through Switzerland at some point.

Yet, Switzerland has the only operational customs within the Schengen territory – and they only recognize Swiss IP rights!

In fact, while the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property informs the Swiss customs of the existence of IP rights, the customs in turn regularly query the Institute upon merchandises entering the territory.

2) A global tech leader

In spite of its small size, Switzerland remains a leader in watchmaking but also machine tools, precision engineering, pharma, biotech and microtechnology. This has made it a key player in the fields of application of these technologies, such as the defence industry, thanks to a highly developed foundation of Small and Medium Enterprises.

Thus, registering patents in Switzerland, either European patents issued by the European Patent Office or Swiss patents, provides cover for certain markets by protecting your invention in an entire manufacturing region.

3) A high density of corporate headquarters

For various, mainly tax-related reasons, many multinational corporations have historically chosen to base their headquarters in Switzerland.

Owning a Swiss IP title therefore allows you to target a company headquarter directly, rather than a regional office, making use of the local judiciary expertise.

4) A land of research

Swiss research institutes such as the Zurich and Lausanne polytechnic schools have earned an international reputation, and have developed strong industry links, to multinational corporations of both Swiss (Roche, Logitech) and international (Intel, Google) origin.

Thus, it may make sense to protect your intellectual property from major industry players with R&D activity in Switzerland.

5) An efficient judiciary system

The Federal Patent Court is notoriously highly efficient, usually reaching decisions in less than a year.

Even though these decisions are only applicable in Switzerland, they may nevertheless provide an early standpoint which can be taken into consideration by other European judiciary institutions. This is especially advantageous in the early days of the Unified Patent legislation.

6) A low cost

Finally, the cost of acquiring Swiss Intellectual Property rights remains surprisingly low.

Taxation is kept at a relatively low rate, and the consulting fees are – against all expectations – comparable to the European market.

For these reasons, protecting your intellectual property in Switzerland can only be an advantage and is highly recommended!