2.1.3 Form of expression

The copyright protected work must be expressed in some way or form. An idea alone is not protected. The idea must be “cast” in a form so that it is visible, audible, or tangible, i.e. is perceptible to the senses. The work can be played, sung, drawn, captured linguistically, recorded or presented in another way. It is irrelevant whether the work is in a physical (e.g. printed book) or non-physical (electronic newspaper article) form, and whether it is expressed in an enduring manner or only fleetingly (e.g. as a song that is sung).

Thus, a song that has just been composed and whistled can be just as much a protected work as a sketch for a later painting or a plan for a play.


Smelling and tasting

“Smellable” creations such as perfumes and flavourful creations are not considered to be protected works – at least pursuant to Swiss copyright law. Smelling and tasting a work are not sufficient to make it perceptible. However, people who invent such creations are not entirely without protection if they identify their work with a brand name; the brand name itself can at least be protected pursuant to Swiss trademark law. However, copyright may in any case apply once more when the visual perception of such a creation takes centre stage, in particular a perfume bottle, the method of creating a dish (e.g. molecular cooking) or recipes. If these show sufficient creative effort and individuality, they must be considered protected works.