For the watch industry, the geographical indications Swiss and Swiss made are globally acknowledged references. That is why the FH spares no effort worldwide to defend them. It takes steps not only to prevent misuse of these indications, but also against applications to register trademarks incorporating Swiss indications which could prove problematic.
In this context, it should be remembered that both in Hong Kong and in the United States –the two largest markets of the Swiss watch industry – the criterion used to determine the origin of a watch is less strict than the Swiss criteria. In the aforementioned cases, it is the country of origin of the movement that determines the country of origin of the watch.
However it is possible on both these territories to register a geographical indication as a certification mark. This is a mark that the holders themselves do not use but make available to others, provided the rules governing this mark are observed. As a corollary of this right of use, the holder may assert rights accruing from the certification mark in the event of misuse.
It is for this purpose, and to ensure better protection of Swiss and Swiss made indications, that since 2006 the FH has been the holder of the Swiss trademark in Hong Kong and the Swiss and Swiss made trademarks in the United States.
Any entity using these indications on watches intended for either market must therefore abide by rules governing use of the certification marks in question. The latter refer expressly to provisions outlined in the ordinance governing use of the name Swiss for watches. Legal proceedings are taken in the event of infringements.