SIMPLE INDICATIONS OF ORIGIN AND «SWISSNESS» LEGISLATION
Geographical indications that refer to the Swiss origin of a specific product or service are used by numerous producers or suppliers in the same region and are therefore not for the exclusive use of a single owner. Entities able to demonstrate that their products and services originate from a specific geographical region do not need to have specific authorizations to use an indication of provenance.
However, it is necessary to take into consideration the so-called «Swissness» legislation which strengthens the protection of the designation «Switzerland» and any other name or image indicative of Swiss origin. In fact, the "Swissness" legislation provides clear rules for the use of Swiss indications of origin, with the aim of avoiding abusive uses and preserving the value of the "Swiss brand". In particular, it is necessary to satisfy specific protection criteria established by law, which take into account the nature of the products bearing the "Swiss brand" indication of origin, depending on whether they are natural products, foodstuffs or industrial products.
QUALIFIED INDICATIONS OF ORIGIN
In addition to simple indications of origin, there are qualified designations, such as «Tête de Moine» or «St. Gallen veal bratwurst», which are registered in the “Register of designations of origin and geographical indications”.
The Register of designations of origin (PDO) and geographical indications (PGI) allows the protection of geographical and traditional names which designate agricultural products, the quality and main characteristics of which are determined by their origin. The current regulations allow the mutual recognition of quality products between Switzerland and the European Union.
The indications of origin qualified as PGI and PDO can also be registered as geographical trademarks.