Functions / jurisdiction
As of 1 January 2012 the Federal Patent Court has been in charge of adjudicating civil-law disputes concerning patents as the court of first instance, superseding the cantonal courts, previously the competent courts for these cases. The Federal Patent Court is exclusively competent in patent infringement and validity matters. Other civil actions relating to patents can also be brought before the Federal Patent Court, e.g. disputes pertaining to patent license agreements or the rights to a patent.
Art. 26 Federal Act on the Federal Patent Court
1 The Federal Patent Court shall be exclusively competent for:
a.validity and infringement disputes and actions for issuing a licence in respect of patents;
b.ordering preliminary measures prior to the onset of the litisprudence of an action as defined in letter a;
c.the enforcement of decisions adopted in its exlusive competence.
2It shall also be competent for other civil actions possessing a factual connection to patents, in particular concerning the right to patents or their assignment. The competence of the Federal Patent Court shall not preclude that of the cantonal courts.
3Where the nullity or infringement of a patent is to be adjudicated before a cantonal court on a preliminary question or defence basis, the judge shall grant the parties a reasonable period of time for filing the validity or infringement action before the Federal Patent Court. The cantonal court shall stay the proceeding until a final and absolute decision has been rendered on the action. Where no action is filed before the Federal Patent Court within the specified time limit, the cantonal court shall resume the proceeding and the preliminary question or defence shall be disregarded.
4Where the defendant party files a counter-claim of nullity or infringement of a patent, the cantonal court shall refer both actions to the Federal Patent Court.