Greater efficiency in the fight against counterfeiting

Bern, 26.04.2023 - From counterfeit luxury watches to designer handbags: thanks to a new procedure, it will be easier to destroy fake products arriving in Switzerland in small consignments in future. On 26 April 2023, the Federal Council noted the outcome of the consultation procedure and adopted the dispatch and the draft of the Federal Act on the Introduction of a Simplified Procedure for Destroying Small Consignments in Intellectual Property Law.

Over 90 per cent of counterfeits intercepted at the border are in small consignments containing up to three objects. The current procedure for destroying these goods is very labour intensive for the Federal Office for Customs and Border Security (FOCBS) because both the rights holders and the buyers have to be informed. It also places an administrative burden on rights holders. This usually proves to be unnecessary because, in the vast majority of cases, the buyer admits that they have purchased a counterfeit and agrees for it to be destroyed.

Choice between ordinary and simplified procedure

For small consignments, rights holders will have two options in future: they will be able to apply for the goods to be destroyed in accordance with the existing ordinary procedure, or, when applying for customs assistance, they can simultaneously ask for the new simplified procedure to be applied. In the simplified procedure, only the person who ordered the goods will be informed of the interception at the border at first. If they consent, the counterfeit will be destroyed. Only if they object to its destruction will the rights holder be informed so that the rights holder can take the next steps.

The bill stipulates that the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI) will now be responsible for both the simplified and the ordinary procedure. The authority that is currently responsible, the FOCBS, will send the IPI the detained counterfeits, which will then carry out the next steps in the procedure up to the destruction of the goods.

Major damage due to infringement of intellectual property rights

The bill was met with wide approval in the consultation. Infringements of trade marks, patents, designs and copyright are increasing worldwide and causing significant damage. This ranges from losses in profit and shortfalls in tax and social security payments to health risks for consumers. The Swiss economy is disproportionately affected, with Swiss rights holders occupying fourth place among companies whose intellectual property rights are most infringed by imitations worldwide. The exponential growth of online retail has compounded the problem. With the click of a mouse, buyers can easily order counterfeit goods from abroad to be delivered to their home.

Address for enquiries

Irene Schatzmann, Deputy Head of Legal Services – General Law, Designs and Enforcement, T +41 31 377 72 38,
Sibylle Wenger, Legal Services – General Law, Designs and Enforcement, T +41 31 377 72 50,


The Federal Council

Federal Department of Justice and Police

Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property

Federal Office for Customs and Border Security