The law on Patent counsellers (LCBr) has now been in force for almost five years. Amongst its new features, it provides for a particularly strict duty of professional secrecy, which goes beyond the obligation to professional secrecy of ordinary business relationships.
Art. 10 LCBr ties the patent counsellor to professional secrecy for all secrets which are entrusted to him due to his profession or in the exercise of the latter. In fact, counsellors often receive confidential information about an invention that has not yet been registered or business secrets. Clients have a preponderant interest that no third-party has knowledge of this information. For this reason the client must have total confidence in the patent counsellor in terms of professionnel secrecy, and to be able to explain to him all the important facts without having to sign a confidentiality agreement with him.
The professional secrecy referred to in art. 10 LCBr is legally guaranteed on two levels – material and procedural. First of all, its violation by the patent counsellor or by its auxiliaries is punishable under art. 321 al. 1 of the Swiss penal code. Secondly, the patent counsellor has the right to refuse to testify in a criminal proceeding under art. 171 of the Swiss penal of civil code under art. 160 let. b of the civil procedure code.
These improvements allow the guarantee of confidentiality of exchanges between a patent counseller and his client.
The five year anniversary of this law offers an opportunity to take stock of the situation based on experience. An information meeting organised jointly by VESPA, the l’AIPPI and the l’Aropi took place on this subject in Lausanne on Tuesday 10th May. I had the pleasure of being invited as a speaker.
Upload the presentation (in French): Présentation sur les droits et devoirs d’un conseil en brevet suisse