How to Apply for Patent in Switzerland

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Switzerland is a landlocked European country. It is located at the junction of Western, Central, and Southern Europe. Switzerland strives for its richness and prosperity by heavily investing in its research for innovation. 

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Key Figures About Switzerland 

Indexing Ranking/Value
Global Innovation Index
1st Place
World Talent Ranking
1st Place
IP Protection
3rd Place
Investment in R&D
22.9 CHF billion

The data in above table is taken from the analysis done by WEF; IMD; WIPO; Federal Statistical Office, for the year 2020

Switzerland is a home of renowned research institutes and universities (ETH Zurich and EPFL), which makes ideal conditions for protecting and harnessing new innovations. Due to such an ecosystem, it also holds top place in the number of publications in international journals. Switzerland majorly hold top position for health and biotechnology areas of research and innovation. 

To support such as ecosystem which is rich is innovation, a strong patent system is a must and indeed Switzerland has one of the best patent system for protecting its innovation in this competitive atmosphere. 

History of Patent Law in Switzerland

Switzerland, enforce it first nation patent law in year 1888, but in a limited scope. The law was only protecting inventions that could be represent by mechanical models. 

However, with time and further amendments in constitution, the patent system in country eventually changed. The following treaties plays important role in making Switzerland patent system a robust by maximizing its scope to protect innovations: 

  • Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property 1883 
  • WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property 1994 
  • Patent Cooperation Treaty 1970 
  • European Patent Convention 1973 (EPC) 

The Federal Assembly of the Swiss Confederation, on the basis of Article 122 of the Federal Constitution enacted Patents Act, PatA on June 25, 1954, and it is enforced in January 1, 1956. 

Patent System In Switzerland

  1. Swiss national patents in Switzerland is govern by the Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI) 
  2. Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI) maintains the register for Swiss national patents and the Swiss parts of European patents 
  3. Swiss national patents are granted without the IPI examining whether the invention is new and inventive in light of the prior arts 
  4. Switzerland is a member of the European Patent Convention; it is not a member of the European Union (EU) 
  5. Switzerland does not follow EU unitary patent system 
  6. Swiss national patent applications are not patentable if they are considered obvious with regard to the state of the art (Article 7, paragraph 2 Federal Act on Patents for Inventions) 
  7. Latest amendment in Patent Act of Switzerland, On 14 October 2020, the Swiss Federal Council published a preliminary draft of a revised version of the Swiss Patent Act. The most important changes enacted in the revision is as follows: 
  • Full-fledged patent examination proceedings including examination of novelty and inventive step 
  • Introduction of a new utility model (unexamined on the merits and with a term of 10 years) 
  • Post-grant opposition proceedings for all patents that also include the alleged lack of novelty and inventive step

Patent Filing Procedure/Process in Switzerland

Who can File a Patent Application?

  • Anyone who is having an idea or innovation solution to a problem 
  • A person who is an inventor of an invention, its successor in title or a third party owning the invention has the right to file a patent application 
  • Multiple inventors have made an invention jointly, they also have this right to file a patent application jointly 
  • Two or more inventors have made an invention independently of each other, the person that files a patent application in Switzerland first or whose application has the earliest priority date has this right for the patent 

How To File A Patent Application

Make of draft of patent application that includes the following details: 

  1. A written description of the invention which is disclosing the process/procedure of its functioning or working
  2. Relevant Drawings/Block Diagrams/Flow Charts, if required
  3. Claims of invention to define the inventive/obviousness and novelty of the invention
  4. Abstract disclosing the invention briefly

Further, the IPI provide 3 months more to submit complete patent application, which can include additional claims/enhancement in description/additional drawings/amendments in abstract. 

  1. Submit the drafted patent application to the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property 
  2. Submit the forms such as Application for a Swiss/Liechtenstein Patent, and Denotation of Inventor 
  3. Submission to IPI can be done via online using the Swiss postal system/Fax or by physical delivery to IPI office 
  • At this stage, the patent office (IPI) will examine the patent application submitted by the applicant/inventor.  
  • The applicant/inventor receive a certificate of filing including the official filing date and the application number, if the filing date criteria is met. Else the filed application is return explaining the reasons of return. 
  • A timeline of 12 months is provided to file internationally the patent application using official filing date i.e. priority date.  
  • The IPI patent office also issue an order form for requesting the optional prior art search for Swiss patent application. 
  • The prior art search document includes the relevant arts and allows the applicant/inventor to evaluate the novelty and the inventive step of the invention. 
  • In this phase, the IPI office check whether the patent application is in accordance and compliance with legislative requirements of patent laws. 
  • If there are deficiencies/pitfalls in the filed patent application, then time is given to applicant/inventor by the IPI office to rectify/modify/amend them or to submit any missing information within the specified timeline.  
  • If the deficiencies/pitfalls are rectify/modify/amend within the specified timeline, then the patent application goes to the next stage, if not, it is rejected. 
  • The patent application is published in time period of 18 months after filing date (or after the earliest priority date). 
  • The patent application is available online at IPI official web portal @ www.swissreg.ch 
  • If a prior art search report is also completed, then it is published along with it. 
  • In this phase, the patent experts in the IPI office closely analyze the technical claims of the filed patent application. 
  • It is done to check whether the filed patent application fulfills the legal requirements for a patent (see Guidelines for the Material Examination).  
  • The IPI office do not examine for novelty or inventive step, therefore the office recommend requesting a prior art search for Swiss patent application in the initial examination phase/stage. 
  • Once all the above stages/phases are completed then the applicant/inventor is notified by the IPI office of completion of the patent application examination.  
  • On the date of the publication of patent, the applicant/inventor will receive a copy of the printed patent document and a certificate.  
  • The granted patent is entered in the Swiss register of patents and the patent document published online at IPI official web portal @ www.swissreg.ch. 

Flow Chart

How To Apply For Patent In Switzerland 1

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