Swiss Parliament Adopts Modernisation of the Patent Act

Swiss Parliament Adopts Modernisation of the Patent Act

Tue, Feb 27th 2024

Amendments to the Swiss Patent Act approved by the National Council, aiming to enhance the patent procedure’s efficiency and reliability.


The Swiss Patent Act is being amended. After the Council of States, the National Council also approved a corresponding bill on Tuesday. The Councils are still divided on the exact form of the right of appeal.

The Grand Chamber adopted the amendments to the Patent Act by 92 votes to 0 with no abstentions. The matter goes back to the Council of States.

Under current law, the Swiss patent procedure does not assess whether a particular invention is actually new, unlike the procedures in many other countries. The validity of a Swiss patent therefore remains uncertain.

Until now, anyone who was not satisfied with such a patent had to take the detour via a fully examined European patent extended to Switzerland. The Federal Council wants to change this with the revision. Such a detour is costly and time-consuming.

In the future, the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI) is to carry out a search for every patent application, according to the draft. This should clarify the state of the art in the relevant field.

The remaining differences only concern minor points. On the one hand, the revision shortens the appeal process. Which goes directly to the Federal Patent Court.

The National Council would also like to expand the catalog of possible grounds for appeal. It also decided, against the wishes of a SP minority, that appeals by third parties should in principle not have suspensive effect – but only if the lower court so orders.

In practice, this concerns patents in the field of biotechnology and the human body, among other things. Like the conservatives, the Greens supported the Commission majority’s version.

However, parliamentary group spokesperson Katharina Prelicz-Huber (ZH) expressed the hope that the Council of States would take another close look at this point.


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