Clearing a name often entails stumbling upon several similar prior trademarks – but not all of these are necessarily obstacles to registering and using a new mark. Instead, applicants must make a case-by-case assessment of the legal and practical risks of a potential infringement claim or opposition from the holder of the conflicting mark. For this purpose, it is useful to know whether the conflicting mark is being used and – if so - when, how and to what extent.
The grace period
In Switzerland, there is no need to demonstrate use or assert intent to use to register a trademark. Further, applicants need not prove a trademark’s use after registration to keep it in force. Yet, protection is deemed valid only if the trademark is used (Article 11(1) of the Trademark Protection Act (TmPA)).
If a trademark has not been used for an uninterrupted period of five years – the grace period – itsholder cannot assert their rights to this trademark unless there are proper reasons for this (Article 12(1) TmPA). During the grace period, the trademark cannot be attacked on this ground. Read more