A company can register trademarks, patents and designs. It is crucial for entrepreneurs to consider early on what they want to protect and make sure that they do not conflict with other companies.
Original designs and technical innovations are the result of major investment by the company in terms of imagination, effort, time and money. Although copying and unlawful use of innovative goods or services are unfortunately a common occurrence, they can be effectively prevented by protecting intellectual property rights.
Assets to be protected
For a specified period of time, owners of intellectual property rights have the exclusive right to decide who is authorized to use their innovations and designs for financial purposes, that is, to manufacture, use, sell or promote them. Use may be prohibited or, conversely, authorized, for example by the granting of licenses. Intellectual property rights therefore form part of a company's assets and have commercial value.
Is protection necessary?
It is up to each company to judge and decide whether protection is necessary, what exactly needs to be protected and how, if possible, before its ideas are disclosed. Businesses are advised to come up with a protection strategy and, where required, to consult a specialist lawyer (patent or trademark lawyer).
You must also be careful not to infringe the intellectual property rights of others. Otherwise, you run the risk of a warning or even a lawsuit. Searches will help you find out what has been protected by third parties.
The Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property
The Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI), in Bern, is the Confederation’s central platform for all questions relating to trademarks, patents, indications of source, protection of designs and copyright.
You can contact the IPI to register a trademark, a patent or a design with a view to protection in Switzerland or, in some cases, internationally. The IPI offers many possibilities for trademark, patent and technology searches; it also offers useful information and services to SMEs.