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SWITZERLAND


The Federal Patent Court

 

A specialized Court named “Federal Patent Court" shall soon replace the 26 Cantonal Courts (1 per canton) currently competent to rule on patent matters. Based in Bern, the Court can move around within Switzerland ("roaming" Court).

The judges who make up this Court have technical and legal qualifications.

Patent Attorneys are entitled to represent their clients before the Federal Patent Court regarding nullity law cases and will take part in infringement law suits.

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THE EUROPEAN UNION


The Community Design


Legislation on registered Community Designs entered into force on 1 January 2003. It provides unified protection for designs in all 27 European Union countries, namely Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Finland, Sweden and Great-Britain, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungry, Malta, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania. In the longer term possibly, Turkey and Croatia will be joining the Union, and Community Designs will immediately extend their effects without special formalities to these countries when they join the Union.

A registration application may cover one or more designs, with protection being granted for a 25-year period organized as 5 periods of 5 years subject to extensions.

The competent Community agency for Community Designs is OHIM, or Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market g.

Obviously, owing to their unified character and the amount of fees envisaged, Community Designs will represent an inexpensive and effective alternative to national designs.

Moreover, unlike most national legislation in the Member States, Article 7 of the legislation on the Community Design provides a period of grace enabling the creator or the latter’s assign to validly file a Community Design up to 12 months after its disclosure. If a priority is claimed, the deadline is computed from the priority date.

There are also unregistered Community Designs aimed primarily at industries with a short life cycle, such as fashion, for which protection is limited to 3 years from the date of disclosure.

With the Geneva Convention in force there will be a bridge between the Community Design and the International Design of the Hague Agreement as from 1st January 2008. It will be therefore possible to designate the European Union as such in an International Design application.


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