TMEP 1205.01(d): Examination Procedures for Marks Containing the Swiss Confederation Coat of Arms or Flag

October 2017 Edition of the TMEP

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1205.01(d)    Examination Procedures for Marks Containing the Swiss Confederation Coat of Arms or Flag

The Trademark Act bars registration of trademarks or service marks containing the coat of arms or flag of the Swiss Confederation, commonly known as Switzerland. See 15 U.S.C §§1052(a), 1052(b), 1052(e)(2), 1052(e)(3), 1127; Britannica.com, Switzerland, http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/577225/Switzerland (accessed Aug. 15, 2012); Cent. Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook, Switzerland, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sz.html (accessed Aug. 15, 2012).

The Swiss coat of arms consists of a white equilateral cross displayed upright on a red triangular shield and the Swiss flag consists of a white equilateral cross displayed upright on a red square. See Swiss Fed. Inst. of Intellectual Prop., Frequently Asked Questions – Legislative Amendment "Swissness," https://www.ige.ch/en/service/frequently-asked-questions/legislative-amendment-swissness/a-swiss-cross-and-the-swiss-coat-of-arms.html (accessed Aug. 15, 2012) (indicating that "[t]he Swiss cross is a perpendicular, free-standing, white cross, each arm of which is one-sixth longer than it is wide on a red background" and that "[t]he Swiss coat of arms is a Swiss cross in a triangular shield"); Britannica.com, Switzerland, flag of, http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1355532/Switzerland-flag-of/ (accessed Aug. 15, 2012); Cent. Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook, Switzerland, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/flags/flagtemplate_sz.html (accessed Aug. 15, 2012).

Description: image of Swiss Confederation coat of arms

Swiss Coat of Arms

Description: image of Flag of Switzerland

Swiss Flag

The primary refusals that apply to marks containing the Swiss coat of arms, the Swiss flag, or simulations thereof, are the following:

  • A refusal under Trademark Act §§1 and 45, because the mark is not in lawful use in commerce, based on the prohibition, under 18 U.S.C. §708, of the commercial use of the Swiss coat of arms. 15 U.S.C. §§1051, 1127; see also TMEP §1205.01.
  • A refusal under §2(b), because the mark consists of or comprises the flag or coat of arms of a foreign country, namely, Switzerland. 15 U.S.C. §1052(b);  see also TMEP §§ 1204–1204.01(e), 1204.04.