Swissness Bill Essay

Words: 2340
Pages: 10

1. Introduction
In the era of globalization, manufacturing processes are no longer confined to a single country. As a result, it is often challenging for consumers to know the true origin of the products that they buy. At the same time, a product’s country-of-origin can have significant influence on consumers’ perceptions of the products. Swiss products present an exceptionally good reputation around the world; consumers perceive Swiss products as highly reliable and with very high quality. In fact, stating their “Swiss origin” induces substantial economic value for the producers; products can be marked up by at least 20% 1 with the “Switzerland” country-of-origin label alone. Essentially, the “Swiss” origin acts as a brand on its own. As
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Therefore, it is crucial for Swiss officials to determine the criteria required for such internationally produced products to be considered as “Swiss”; so that the “Switzerland” brand can be preserved in the long term. 2.3 Current Situation The contemporary conditions for the use of “Switzerland”, “Swiss made” or other designations are imprecise and thus lead to legal uncertainty. According to the Federal Act on the Protection of Coats of Arms, the “Swiss coat of arms” may not be registered as a trademark for goods and may not be affixed to goods for commercial purposes” 5 . Using the Swiss cross to indicate a product’s origin is regarded as a commercial purpose and hence is considered illegal. However, non-commercial and decorative uses are considered legal. Yet, in actual situation, distinguishing between the legal decorative usages and the illegal commercial usages can be difficult. It is clear that firms have been exploiting this ambiguity. Similarly, the conditions for the use of “Switzerland” and “Swiss” are very general in the Federal Law on the Protection of Trademarks and Indication of Source6. It states that “the origin of goods shall be determined by the place of manufacture or

Federal Law on the Protection of Coats of Arms and Other Public Insignia of 5 June 1931 (WSchG; SR 232.21)

Federal Law on the Protection of Emblems and the Name of the Red Cross