Industry News – How to Protect Watch Designs

The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FH) has invited its member companies
to a seminar on the protection of watch designs. This will take place on
September 16, at the Hôtel Beau-Rivage in Neuchatel.

In order for its outward form to remain the prerogative of its designer, a watch must be protected against any attempt at imitation. It is for this reason that in Switzerland, as is the case at European and international level, watchmakers have at their disposal a range of clearly defined legal means to defend their designs. The seminar organised by the FH, under the aegis of its Legal
Committee, will focus on strategies for the protection of watch designs, a factor of crucial importance for the watch industry.

Jean-Daniel Pasche,
President of the FH, will introduce speakers who have agreed to lend their
support to this forum.

Marie Wollheim, legal adviser at the Federal Institute of Intellectual Property in Switzerland, will present the new Swiss Federal law on design, which entered into force in July 2002.

Jean-Pierre Benoit, Director of Infosuisse and a member of the FH Legal Committee, possesses in-depth and wide-ranging experience of the international registration of watch designs. He will highlight the advantages and drawbacks for the watch industry of the international registration system for industrial designs outlined in European legislation and by the Hague Arrangement.

Can the form of a watchmaking product benefit from protection other than that afforded by the law on design? To what extent can a design be protected under trademark or copyright legislation, for example? Nathalie Tissot, who runs courses on intellectual property in the legal department of the Faculty of Law and Economic Sciences of the University of Neuchatel, will look at other legal means of protection of designs, such as the trademark and copyright.

What assessment criteria are used to confirm the existence of an imitation of a registered design? Is evaluation by a specialist sufficient or should the general public who buy the protected design also have a say in the matter? Christoph Lanz, General Secretary of the Baselworld Panel, will discuss the practice and jurisprudence of the Panel in its work to assess violations of the law on design in the light of the new Swiss legislation.

Those discussing protection strategies will include François Blum, of the Genevan practice BMG avocats, Luigi Macaluso, General Manager of Girard-Perregaux, Adrian Glessing, designer at Raymond Weil, and freelance designer Michèle Berri.

Full details of this event, which is aimed essentially at designers, heads of marketing and design departments, company directors, lawyers and legal experts, can be obtained from the FH Legal Department.