Is there a risk of patent infringement if the Swiss cross is affixed in the Swiss QR Code?
According to the patent research commissioned by SIX and conducted by a patent attorney’s office, Denso Wave’s patents relating solely to the QR code have no protected and registered rights in Switzerland to corresponding designs or illustrations for QR codes.
Furthermore, SIX has obtained an expert opinion on the question “Freedom to operate” from the Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI). The results of this research show that the patent portfolio of DENSO includes a number of patent documents revealing combinations of images and QR codes. From the researcher’s point of view, these are mainly overlays or framing of images, but none of the patents contain claims relating to the designs or illustrations. However, the results provided by the IPI do not include documents with the country code CH.
Based on the results so far, we assume that DENSO will not be able to prevent or take action against the overlapping of the QR code with the Swiss cross as prescribed in the IG QR-bill.
What is to be considered with regard to patent law?
With the involvement of specialists, SIX and the responsible project owners for the QR-bill for the Swiss financial center have jointly and duly examined the technical and legal framework conditions for the territory of Switzerland and provide corresponding descriptions for a standardized QR-bill (“standardization”). Subsequently, the following possible uses for invoicing or payment of a QR-bill have been assumed:
- Payer captures QR code with a reader or camera in e-banking/m-banking
- Payer captures QR code with a reader or scanner in their own infrastructure and transmits the payment order electronically (e.g. as a pain message)
- Payments at the post office counter (branches and branches with partners)
- Payment order form
Furthermore, applications of QR-bill, such as payments at ATMs, not included in the list are not part of standardization.
For the commercial technological implementation of standardization, commercial users are required to take the customary clarifications and precautions.
Third-party specifications and company-specific functionalities are not the subject of standardization. Clarifications in this regard lie within the responsibility of respective providers. This applies in particular to the possibility of embedding structural information or content in the “Alternative procedures” fields.
Is a contractual agreement (ISR/ISR bank participation declaration) necessary for the use of the QR-bill?
Depending on the financial institution’s offer, a declaration of participation may still be required.