Who is entitled to file complaints?
Anyone with concerns that their intellectual property rights are being violated at the show is entitled to complain to the Panel. Besides the exhibitors, non-exhibitors too may file a complaint with the Panel if they first acknowledge the Panel's rules and submit to the procedure and the decision by the Panel.
The applicant may give notice of the violation of immaterial property rights with the complaint. These include the rights to:
- A design pursuant to the Federal Law on the Protection of Designs
- A trademark or indication of source pursuant to the Federal Law on the Protection of Trademarks and Indications of Source
- A patent for invention pursuant to the Federal Law on Patents for Inventions
- A work protected by copyright pursuant to the Federal Law on Copyright and Neighbouring Rights.
The applicant may also give notice of a breach of fair competition for the purposes of the Federal Law against Unfair Competition.
How must complaints be filed?
Complaints may be filed every day for the duration of the show. It is sufficient if the complaint is filed verbally. Representation by a lawyer is not necessary. The Panel will follow up on the complaint if the applicant has paid the processing fee and has submitted the necessary evidence to make a ruling on the case. As a rule, extracts from national or international registers from which it is clear that the protected privileges asserted extend to Switzerland are regarded as evidence. Whenever possible, applicants should bring an original item with them.
Once the complaint is filed, a delegation from the Panel, together with the applicant and a representative of the subject of the complaint, inspect the booth occupied by the subject of the complaint and clarify the issue. The delegation from the Panel is to be granted unrestricted access to all items in the booth. At the same time, the subject of the complaint has the opportunity to comment on the objections. The delegation is entitled to demand that the objects under investigation are handed over temporarily and/or photographed. Following the inspection of the booth, the Panel will reach its decision in a plenary session. The decision will be disclosed to both parties in writing on the following day.
What is the impact of the panel's decisions?
Decisions by the Panel are binding for all parties. While exhibitors acknowledge the Panel's rules and submit to them by signing the exhibitor contract, non-exhibitors acknowledge the procedure and the decision of the Panel with a special declaration during the show. The decisions by the Panel are legally binding for the duration of the show and are to be executed immediately. If the legal dispute is continued before an ordinary court, the decisions of the Panel may be used as expert opinions if required.
If the Panel approves the complaint and arrives at the conclusion that the presentation of the item about which the complaint has been filed violates an intellectual property right, the item in question must be removed from the pavilion immediately and may no longer be offered for sale. Depending on the gravity of the violation, the Panel may also recommend to the Show Management that the pavilion occupied by the subject of the complaint is closed immediately or that the subject of the complaint be excluded from the subsequent show.
What appeals are there against the decisions by the panel?
If a party can supply new facts or evidence from documents that it could not provide during the inspection of the booth, it may file an application in writing giving its reasons to have the Panel reconsider the situation during the show. The parties may also lodge an appeal in writing, giving their reasons against the Panel, with the Show' Management during the show or within 30 days thereafter and give notice that the Panel did not act in accordance with its rules. However, neither the application for reconsideration nor the appeal will have a suspensive effect.
How much does the procedure cost?
Exhibitors who file a complaint with the Panel have to pay an advance on costs of CHF 2,200. If they win, they are reimbursed CHF 1,100. Non-exhibitors pay CHF 10,000 when they file a complaint. If the complaint is approved, the subject of the complaint will pay CHF 4,000.00. Reconsideration costs a minimum of CHF 2,200.00. The processing fees are used solely to cover the Panel's operating costs.