Treaty between the Swiss Confederation and the Principality of Liechtenstein on Patent Protection (Patent Treaty) of 22 December 1978*
Chapter 1: General Provisions
Unified Territory of Protection
Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein shall form a unified territory of protection for the purposes of patent law.
A European patent may only be obtained for Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein by joint designation under Article 149 of the European Patent Convention. Designation of one of the Contracting States shall be deemed to constitute designation of both of them.
International Patent Applications
(1) In an international application, Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein may only be designated jointly under Article 4 of the Patent Cooperation Treaty. Designation of one of the Contracting States shall be deemed to constitute designation of both of them.
(2) The same shall apply mutatis mutandis for the election of Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein under Article 31 of the Patent Cooperation Treaty, provided that Chapter II of that Treaty is applicable to both Contracting States.
Legal Effect of Patents
(1) The patents valid for the unified territory of protection shall be unified patents. They shall have the same effect in both Contracting States and may only be granted, transferred, annulled or lapse in respect of the whole territory of protection.
(2) The unified nature of the patents shall also apply in cases where patents have been expropriated on the basis of the patent legislation; the expropriated person shall nevertheless be entitled to a free and exclusive licence for the territory of the Principality of Liechtenstein.
(1) In the unified territory of protection,
(a) the current Federal legislation on patents (patent legislation), and
(b) other provisions of Federal legislation as required by the application of the patent legislation, shall apply.
(2) National territory for the purposes of the patent legislation shall mean the unified territory of protection, subject to Article 8 of this Treaty.
(3) The law application in accordance with paragraph (1) shall be set out in the Annex to this Treaty1. Additions and amendments to the Annex shall be communicated by the Swiss Federal Council to the Government of the Principality of Liechtenstein and the latter shall have them published. Where the Government of the Principality of Liechtenstein is opposed to the inclusion of a Swiss statute in the Annex, Article 16 shall be applicable.
Treaties and Conventions
(1) For the duration of this Treaty, the Principality of Liechtenstein, just as Switzerland, shall be a party to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, the European Patent Convention, the Patent Cooperation Treaty and, where required in application of this, Treaty, other conventions.
(2) Switzerland shall conclude bilateral treaties concerning patents with third party States, which affect the application of this Treaty, only with effect for the unified territory of protection. It shall endeavour to obtain that the effect of treaties concluded before the entry into force of this Treaty shall be extended to the Principality of Liechtenstein.
(3) The Principality of Liechtenstein shall authorize Switzerland to represent it for the duration of this Treaty in negotiations with third-party States concerning the conclusion or amendment of bilateral treaties concerning patents and to conclude such treaties with effect for the Principality.
(4) The Principality of Liechtenstein shall refrain for the duration of this Treaty from independently concluding bilateral treaties concerning patents with third-party States.
Chapter 2: Administrative Tasks
(1) The Federal Bureau of Intellectual Property shall be competent to carry out with effect for the unified territory of protection the administrative tasks deriving from the patent legislation.
(2) The Bureau shall be a receiving Office within the meaning of Article 2 and Rule 19 of the Patent Cooperation Treaty for international applications filed by persons who are Liechtenstein nationals or have their headquarters or domicile in the Principality of Liechtenstein.
Natural persons or legal entities having their domicile or headquarters in the Principality of Liechtenstein may be appointed representatives in proceedings before the Federal Bureau of Intellectual Property, to the extent that they are entitled to act as professional representatives in patent proceedings under Liechtenstein law.
Reference to the Territorial Scope of Protection
The Federal Bureau of Intellectual Property2 shall suitably draw attention, on publications issued after the entry into force of this Treaty, to the fact that patents have effect for the unified territory of protection.
Chapter 3: Legal Protection
(1) The Principality of Liechtenstein shall designate the judicial authorities that, in patent proceedings
(a) decide as sole instance in civil actions,
(b) order provisional measures.
(2) Offences against the patent legislation shall be prosecuted and judged in first and second instance by the courts of the Principality of Liechtenstein.
(3) The Liechtenstein authorities competent for prosecution, for judging civil and criminal matters and for executing civil and criminal judgments in patent proceedings shall have the same rights and obligations as the corresponding Swiss authorities.
Civil and criminal judgments issued in patent proceedings by courts of the Principality of Liechtenstein may, in conformity with the procedural provisions applicable under this Treaty, be the subject of an appeal to the Federal Court.
The Swiss and Liechtenstein authorities competent for prosecution, for judging civil and criminal matters and for executing civil and criminal judgments in patents proceedings shall be entitled and obligated to the same mutual legal assistance as between the Confederation and the cantons and as the cantons among themselves; the legislation of the Contracting States as regards extradition shall be reserved.
Execution and Grace
(1) The competence and procedure for executing court decisions that are executable throughout the whole of the territory of protection shall be subject to the law of the State in which execution is applied for.
(2) The right of grace shall belong to the State in which judgment was given.
Relations Between Authorities
The judicial and administrative authorities of the Contracting States may deal directly with one another.
Chapter 4: Legal Matters and Disputes
(1) To facilitate the implementation of this Treaty, a Joint Committee shall be set up, composed of representatives of the Contracting States.
(2) The task of the Joint Committee shall be, in particular:
(a) exchange of information and consideration of patent matters;
(b) consideration of matters connected with the interpretation or application of this Treaty.
(3) The Joint Committee shall meet at the request of either of the Contracting States.
Settlement of Disputes
(1) All disputes arising from the interpretation or application of this Treaty shall be submitted, at the request of either of the Contracting States, to the Joint Committee whose task it shall be to seek a solution to the dispute.
(2) Where it is not possible to settle a dispute, either of the Contracting States shall be entitled to submit it to a committee composed of one representative of each of the Contracting States. These representatives may not have participated in the discussions of the Joint Committee.
(3) Where one State has not designated its representative and has not responded to the invitation of the other State to make such designation within two months, that representative shall be appointed, at the request of the latter State, by the President of the European Court of Human Rights.
(4) Should the two representatives not achieve a settlement within three months of the dispute having been submitted to them, they shall designate by common accord a member from among the nationals of a third-party State. Failing agreement on the choice of such member within a period of two months, either Contracting State may request the President of the European Court of Human Rights to appoint the third member of the committee; the latter shall then assume the functions of an arbitration tribunal.
(5) Where the President of the European Court of Human Rights is impeded in the cases referred to in paragraphs (3) and (4) or is a national of one of the Contracting States, the appointment of the representative or of the third member shall lie with the Vice-President of the Court or with the most senior member of the Court who is neither impeded nor a national of one of the Contracting States.
(6) Unless otherwise provided for by the Contracting States, the arbitration tribunal shall itself decide on its procedure. The arbitration tribunal shall take its decisions on a majority of the votes of its members; its decisions shall be final and binding.
(7) Each State shall bear the cost arising from the activity of the member of the court it has appointed. The costs of the third member of the committee shall be borne in equal parts by the Contracting States.
Chapter 5: Transitional and Final Provisions
Patents Already Granted
This Treaty shall also apply to patents granted with effect for Switzerland prior to its entry into force.
Implementation of the Treaty
(1) The Government of the Contracting States shall conclude an implementing agreement.
(2) Where necessary, the Contracting States shall issue implementing rules.
Ratification and Entry into Force
(1) This Treaty shall require ratification. The instruments of ratification shall be exchanged in Berne as soon as possible.
(2) The Treaty shall enter into force on the first day of the third month following exchange of the instrument of ratification.3
Duration and Denunciation
(1) This Treaty shall be concluded for an unlimited period of time.
(2) It may be denounced at any time by either of the Contracting States. It shall nevertheless remain in force for one year after denunciation.
Maintenance of Acquired Rights
(1) The expiry of this contract shall not affect rights acquired hereunder.
(2) The Government of the Contracting States shall take by common accord the necessary measures to ensure that persons entitled may continue to claim their rights in court for the remainder of the period of protection.
Implementing Agreement to the Treaty between Switzerland and Liechtenstein in Respect of Patents of 10 December 19794
Notice of Territorial Scope of Protection
(1) Pursuant to Article 9 of the Treaty, the territorial scope of protection shall be notified in the Swiss Patents, Designs and Trademarks Journal, in the yearly catalogue and on published patent specifications and applications.
(2) The Federal Office of Intellectual Property and the Liechtenstein Office of Intellectual Property shall determine by common accord those forms used in the patent granting procedure which shall also bear such notice.
(1) The Office of the National Economy of the Principality of Liechtenstein shall keep a list of the natural persons and legal entities authorized under Article 8 of the Treaty to act as professional representatives in respect of patents.
(2) That Office shall communicate to the Federal Office of Intellectual Property the entries made in the list and the subsequent amendments to such entries together with, in the case of legal entities, the names of the natural persons holding the authorization provided in paragraph (1).
Provision of Printed Matter
(1) The Federal Office of Intellectual Property shall provide free of charge to the Liechtenstein Office of Intellectual Property the following publications.
(a) a complete edition of the Swiss Patents, Designs and Trademarks Journal (Parts I to V);
(b) an additional copy of the general part (Part I) of the Swiss Patents, Designs and Trademarks Journal;
(c) the yearly catalogue.
(2) On request, the judicial and administrative authorities of Liechtenstein shall receive free of charge from the Federal Office of Intellectual Property individual copies of patent specifications and applications.
(3) If a public collection of patent specifications, arranged according to the International Patent Classification, is established in the Principality of Liechtenstein, the Federal Office of Intellectual Property shall provide free of charge, at the request of the Liechtenstein authorities, the necessary patent documents it has published.
(4) The Liechtenstein Office of Intellectual Property shall receive free of charge the forms and information sheets required by applicants.
The Federal Office of Intellectual Property and the Liechtenstein Office of Intellectual Property shall be empowered to settle by common accord questions arising from the administrative execution of the Treaty and of this Implementing Agreement.
(1) This Agreement shall enter into force5 at the same time as the Patent Treaty of December 22, 1978, and shall remain applicable for as long as that Treaty remains in force.
(2) It may be amended at any time by common accord.
The embedded forms within this article are for technical reasons only available in the PDF version of this article.
1 Note: The Annex is not reproduced here.
2 Now: Federal Office of Intellectual Property.
3 Note: The Treaty entered into force on 1 April 1980.
4 Translation by the International Bureau of WIPO.
5 Note: The Treaty entered into force on 1 April 1980.