10.07 Patent

10 Intellectual Property Law

A patent is a technical solution to a problem. It can be a product or a process. The innovation in question must be new, i.e. not state of the art.

Legal basis

The legal basis for patent protection in Switzerland is the Federal Act on Patents for Inventions (Patents Act, PatA, SR 232.14). and the related ordinance (PatV, SR 232.141).

Conditions for protection

An invention is patentable (PatA 1). An invention is a technical solution to a problem, whereby this solution must not be obvious to a person skilled in the art, i.e. it must have a certain inventive step. This invention must be new (PatA 1). An invention is new if it is not prior art (PatA 7). In addition, the invention must be susceptible of industrial application (PatA 1). Finally, there must be no legal ground for exclusion (in particular PatA 2).

According the European Patent Convention, EPC 52 II, no inventions in this sense are in particular discoveries (not inventions), scientific theories and mathematical methods, aesthetic (not technical) creations, plans, rules and methods for performing mental acts, playing games or doing business (business methods), computer programs (s. Chapter 10.05 Copyright) and the reproduction of information.

Patent search

In order to avoid legal disputes as far as possible, it is essential to research an invention before depositing it. In doing so, one must be aware of the territoriality of a patent. Just as you have to deposit a patent in every country for which you claim patent protection (s. below), you must also search for a patent in every country in which it is registered. In addition, there are also regional patents, such as the European Patent (EPO), which can also be searched on a separate platform. Below are some direct links to important national and international patent registers (from a Swiss perspective):

Costs of patent registration

The Swiss Patent Office (IPI) publishes the fees for the registration of a Swiss patent under the following link: https://www.ige.ch/en/protecting-your-ip/patents/before-you-apply/costs-and-fees/patents-fees.html.

Calculating or rather estimating the costs associated with a patent registration is extremely complex. We therefore refer here to a paper written by Ueli Grüter and Evelyn Zwick, which deals with a safe but nevertheless inexpensive way to patent protection: HSLU – Smart-up – Grüter – Zwick – Der sichere und günstige Wege zum Patentschutz.

Patent filing – patent registration

There are two types of patent. One is the product patent. These include patents on machinery and chemical substances. On the other hand, the process patent. This patent covers the process for manufacturing a product.

Patent filing and registration is extremely complex. We therefore refer here to a paper written by Ueli Grüter and Evelyn Zwick, which deals with a safe but nevertheless inexpensive way to patent protection: HSLU – Smart-up – Grüter – Zwick – Der sichere und günstige Wege zum Patentschutz.

Publication of patent deposits and registered patents

Deposited and registered patents with protection in Switzerland are published with legal effect on the IPI swissreg.ch online database. (for the search see above!)

Term of protection

Patent protection is granted for a maximum of 20 years (PatA 14). For pharmaceutical products, an additional protection certificate can be applied for for a maximum of another 5 years for the long period between the deposit of the patent and the authorisation of the pharmaceutical product (PatA 140a ff.).

10 Intellectual Property Law