Agreement on geographical indications between Switzerland and Jamaica enters into force

Bern, 01.09.2014 - The agreement between Switzerland and Jamaica on the protection of geographical indications (GIs) enters into force today. It improves protection for designations such as Emmental, Gruyère and Switzerland as well as the Swiss cross and the cantonal coats of arms.

As of today, an agreement between Switzerland and Jamaica protects GIs in both countries. The protection is applicable to all products, and the agreement goes well beyond the international minimum standards of the World Trade Organization. The agreement means important Swiss designations such as Emmental, Gruyère, Swiss Chocolate and Swiss Watches can take advantage of improved protection in Jamaica. For Jamaica, the agreement protects GIs such as Jamaica Rum, Blue Mountain Coffee and Jamaican Jerk.

Country names and emblems of both contracting parties are also protected under the agreement, meaning that the Swiss coat of arms and the Swiss cross as well as cantonal coats of arms and names are also protected.

Improved protection for Swiss quality products
GIs are an important marketing instrument for the export of Swiss quality products. To date, these designations have not been sufficiently protected under international law resulting in widespread wrongful use. This is why Switzerland has been calling for an improvement in protection in international forums such as the World Intellectual Property Organization and the World Trade Organization.

Parallel to this, Switzerland is also negotiating bilateral protection agreements that go beyond the existing level of protection with like-minded partner countries. The agreement with Jamaica continues this strategy and follows on from the agreement concluded with Russia in 2010. Switzerland also carried out a technical cooperation project with Jamaica on the protection of GIs between 2008 and 2011. 

In keeping with the ‘Swissness' legislative amendment
The conclusion of bilateral agreements on the protection of GIs is in response to concerns raised by Swiss parliament (Motion 12.3642 of 19 June 2012 of the Council of States' Legal Affairs Committee). The agreements concluded pursue the same goals as the ‘Swissness' legislative amendment, which was adopted in June 2013 and aims to strengthen the protection of the designation of origin Switzerland and the Swiss Cross at national level and also facilitate law enforcement abroad.

Address for enquiries

Mathias Schaeli, Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property, T +41 031 377 72 25


Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property