Jump to main content

Toblerone made in....

Industrial property law

Toblerone made in....

How many of you have never bought a packet of Toblerone? It's a chocolate that I've always found particularly fascinating. It has a distinctive prism-shaped wrapper and the chocolate has a pyramid shape reminiscent of the Swiss mountains. There are so many industrial property rights in a single packet of Toblerone... but it's not patents, trade marks and design that I wanted to talk to you about!

The special shape that the manufacturer chose from the outset is deliberately reminiscent of the Swiss mountains. The mountain that can be seen in the picture next to the lettering is the peak of the Matterhorn. A reminder of the country in which it was made. If these references were not obvious enough, the symbol "Made in Switzerland" or "Swiss made" was added to the packaging to dispel any doubt.

Over the years, Toblerone, like so many other companies, has been taken over by foreign firms. Now, it has recently been announced that the US multinational company that currently owns Toblerone has moved its production to Bratislava and is therefore no longer authorised to use the "Made in Switzerland" symbol under the Swiss law that came into force in 2017 (the so-called Swissness law).

The Swiss law introduced very strict regulations that define the content requirements for the "Switzerland" trademark as well as the conditions for the use of indications of source in general and the Swiss cross in particular. The ordinance also prohibits the use of Swiss national symbols (such as the summit of the Matterhorn) to advertise products that are not actually manufactured in Switzerland. A food product may only be labelled "Swiss made" or "made in Swizzerland" if at least 80% of the weight of the raw materials used in its manufacture originate from Switzerland; for milk and dairy products, this percentage is 100%.

The relocation of Toblerone production will therefore have a disruptive effect on the image of the well-known pyramid-shaped chocolate.