This blog is translated from German with DeepL.
The “Swissness” legislation came into force on January 1, 2017, consisting of, among other things, the Coat of Arms and Trademark Protection Act. Since then, the following regulation has generally applied to industrial products and services, provided certain criteria are met:
The use of the Swiss cross is permitted for Swiss goods and services.
The Swiss coat of arms is reserved for the Swiss Confederation (there may be exceptions)
Thus, logos and inscriptions on products as well as services with the Swiss cross are allowed.
Use Swiss cross allowed since 01.01.2017
The legislation clears up outdated and often unclear regulations. In doing so, it targets three main areas:
- Clarifying the criteria of origin and increasing legal certainty.
- Protection of the valuable “Swiss” brand
- Avoidance of consumer deception and unfair competition.
The need for companies to take action remains unchanged!
On the one hand, “Swissness” is not an obligation but a voluntary decision. No official permits are required for the use of the “Swiss brand”.
The internal self-examination remains the condition for the use of “Swissness”. Thus it remains at least to check that the Swissness criteria are fulfilled.
Furthermore, it has to be decided whether only the indication “Switzerland” or the combination with the Swiss cross is used. If necessary, the use of other “Swissness-Plus” labels must also be checked.
Finally, the company must of course provide proof in the event of a lawsuit.
The conformity criteria for the “Swiss brand” have been clarified but remain complex. The following rough grid describes the general approach for industrial products and services:
- At least 60% Swiss manufacturing costs
1.a Exceptions to the 60% share
- Costs for natural products that cannot be produced in Switzerland (e.g. gold)
- Costs for raw materials that are not available in Switzerland in sufficient quantities for objective reasons (e.g. aluminum)
- If only a part of the production (e.g. design or research) has been done 100% in Switzerland, it may be declared with “Swissness” but without the Swiss cross (e.g. “Swiss-Design”).
The research, development and necessary quality assurance costs may now be included in part or in full. Furthermore, sales and marketing costs remain excluded.
2.Essential manufacturing step in Switzerland
The indication of origin must also correspond to the place where the product has acquired the essential characteristic and where the essential manufacturing step has taken place.
3.For services, the registered office, the place and the actual administration must be in Switzerland.
The protection of the designation of origin “Switzerland” and the Swiss cross is thus strengthened. The possibility of better enforcement abroad increases the efficiency of the fight against abuse.
On the other hand, there are still exceptions and flexible rules regarding manufacturing costs (raw materials, semi-finished products, product-based research costs, etc.), which could lead to different interpretations. From our point of view, the activity that constitutes the essential characteristic of a product and also the definition of this essentiality itself (essential manufacturing step) are well debatable.
We note that in certain industries (e.g. watches) there are even more specific regulations.
Gimelli Engineering AG will be pleased to answer your questions. Further information on Swissness legislation can also be found on the IGE website www.ige.ch/swissness.