Conditions for the registration and the registration process


Who can apply to register a .swiss domain name?

The following will be eligible for the assignment of a domain name:

  • Swiss public bodies or other public law organisations (Confederation, cantons, municipalities);
  • bodies registered with the Swiss commercial register having their headquarters and an actual administrative site in Switzerland (companies, associations, foundations, persons registered with the Swiss commercial register);
  • associations and foundations not registered with the Swiss commercial register having their headquarters and an actual administrative site in Switzerland.

Branches of foreign companies are not eligible. At present, physical persons cannot submit a registration application with the exception of persons registered with the Swiss commercial register.

What domain name can be applied for?

The domain name must include at least 3 and at most 63 characters. Combinations of letters - including the accented characters used in Switzerland - and numbers are possible. The list of the authorized characters can be found in the appendix of the technical and administrative regulations (document available in German, French or Italian).

The requested designation is not reserved.

The assignment of domain names corresponding to or related to names of a generic character (e.g. hotel, taxi, lawyer) is subject to special conditions.

There must be an objective relationship between the domain name and the applicant. This is in particular the case when the domain name meets one of the following conditions:

  1. it contains a designation to which the applicant has a claim under law (marks, company names, foundations and associations, indications of source and geographical indications in Switzerland recognized by Swiss Law),

  2. it refers to a designation objectively linked to the State or to its activities which is required by the public body (Confederation, cantons, municipalities) or the public law organisation concerned,

  3. it contains a geographical designation:

    -to which the applicant has a right or in which it has a legitimate interest,
    -to which it has a right or in which it has a legitimate interest, in the public mind, or
    -that it is authorised to use by the public body or bodies or other organisations concerned,

  4. it refers to a designation in which the applicant has a legitimate interest or which is associated with this applicant in the public mind.

If this objective relationship is not evident (e.g. when it is not the applicant's name or the name of a trade mark which the applicant owns), explanations must be included in the application. The registrar can use the “Intended use” field to send this information to the registry. You can also send this information directly to the registry by email (domainnames@bakom.admin.ch). So that the objective relationship between the applicant and the requested name can be ascertained, the application must not be made in the name of an intermediate provider (e.g. a web agency or marketing agency).

Swissness - Rules governing the use of the indication of source "Swiss"

In certain circumstances a .swiss domain name may constitute an indication of source within the meaning of Article
47ff of the Federal Act on the Protection of Trade Marks and Indications of Source.

An indication of source is a reference making it possible to indicate the geographical origin of a good or a service. Unlike the mark which assigns a product or a service to a company in particular, the indication of source assigns it to a specific place/region.

Depending on the circumstances, a consumer might expect to find products originating from Switzerland on a .swiss internet site. If this is the case, any risk of consumers being misled concerning the origin of the products offered must be avoided.

From 1 January 2017, new rules will govern the use of “Swiss” indications of source. They are intended to protect the “Swiss trade mark" from fraudulent uses and to preserve its value. Further information on these new rules can be found here.    

For further information:

Phone: +41 31 377 77 77

swissnessinfo@ipi.ch

Swiss Federal Institute of
Intellectual Property
Stauffacherstrasse 65 / 59g
CH - 3003 Berne

Conditions for geographic names

The names of cantons and their two-letters abbreviations and municipalities are assigned, in principle, to the public bodies in question. These names can be assigned to a third party if the public bodies in question consent to this.

Any other geographical designation is assigned to the public body in question or the applicant who has a right or a legitimate interest, or which in the public mind has a right or a legitimate interest. It may also be assigned if the applicant is authorised by the public bodies or other public organisations.

Names which it will be impossible to assign in the .swiss domain or names which it will only be possible to assign under certain conditions

The Federal Chancellery keeps a list of designations that will only be assigned to the Swiss Confederation (names of federal institutions and units of the federal administration, names of federal councillors and chancellors of the Confederation, names of official buildings and other names connected with the State).

Furthermore, the following names are not available: EXAMPLE, WWW, RDDS, WHOIS, NIC, names reserved by the registry for the operation or promotion of the .swiss domain, names which the registry has either withdrawn from the available names or has assigned to itself in its own name, country and territory names, names relating to the International Olympic Committee, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent movement and names of intergovernmental organisations.

The assignment of domain names corresponding to or related to names of a generic character (e.g. hotel, taxi, lawyer) is subject to special conditions.

What is the procedure for registering a domain name?

The applicant should submit their registration application to an accredited registrar. The latter is informed when the registration conditions are not met, to enable them to inform their client. If the request meets a priori the registration conditions, the registry publishes the registration application for a period of 20 days. Those applications having passed the cursory examination are published every Tuesday for 20 days.

The registry then evaluates the request in relation to the registration conditions, any comments received during the publication period as well as any competing registration applications. Once the time limit of 20 days has expired and no competing registration applications or comments have been received, the domain name can then be assigned in principle within a period of 3 days. The registrar is informed of the assignment so that it can confirm it to its client.

The whois service makes it possible to determine if the application is being processed and if the domain name has been assigned.

What to check when the application is made?

To avoid rejection of an application for a name and in order to facilitate its rapid processing, the applicant must pay attention to the following aspects:

  • The applicant is eligible for assignment of the name and the requested name is assignable (cf. assignment conditions above);
  • The company identification number (UID) which is provided corresponds to the applicant for the name (verification in the UID register [https://www.uid.admin.ch/search.aspx?lang=en]);
  • There is an objective relationship between the applicant and the requested name. If this objective relationship is not evident (e.g. when it is not the applicant's name or the name of a trade mark which the applicant owns), explanations must be included in the application. The registrar can use the “Intended use” field to send this information to the registry. You can also send this information directly to the registry by email (domainnames@bakom.admin.ch). So that the objective relationship between the applicant and the requested name can be ascertained, the application must not be made in the name of an intermediate provider (e.g. a web agency or marketing agency).

What are the costs of a .swiss domain name?

Prices are subject to market forces and are set by the registrars and the resellers. Please contact your registrar or reseller in order to determine the costs that you will be charged. Current market prices vary between approximately CHF 115.00 and CHF 170.00.

The assignment of domain names corresponding to or related to names of a generic character (e.g. hotel, taxi, lawyer) is subject to special conditions.

Where can I obtain information about the status of my application?

Customer service is provided by registrars or their resellers. Registrars are kept informed of the processing of registration applications. Assignment of domain names or rejection of registration applications are confirmed to registrars.

The whois service makes it possible to determine if the application is being processed and if the domain name has been assigned.

What is the procedure for deciding between competing applications for the same domain name?

When a domain name is applied for by multiple applicants, the whois service provides information relating to all applications.

The applications submitted are prioritized in the following order according to the category of the applicant:

1. public bodies, public law organisations
2. owners of rights attached to distinctive signs
3. other organisations

If multiple applications are received from the same applicant category, the procedure varies according to the category:

  • public bodies, public law organisations: to the public body or public law organisation that intends to use the domain name concerned in a manner that provides added value which is manifestly greater for the Swiss community compared to the other envisaged uses. If no project satisfies this requirement and the public bodies or public law organisations submitting the application cannot agree on a single or joint candidature, the registry does not allocate the domain name;
  • owners of rights attached to distinctive signs: to the highest bidder in an auction. The procedure is as follows:
    Single round sealed bid auction, where each bidder submits their bid to the registry independently and in a form prescribed by the registry. The registry allocates the domain name to the highest bidder who;
  • non-profit-making entities: to the applicant which was first to submit a registration application;
  • other organisations: to the applicant that intends to use the domain name concerned in a manner that provides added value which is manifestly greater for the Swiss community compared to the uses envisaged by the other applicants. If no project satisfies this requirement and the applicants cannot agree on a single or joint candidature, the registry decides on the allocation by drawing lots or holding an auction.

In the case of identical applications submitted by the same applicant to different registrars, the registry reserves the right to consider only the latest application to have been received via the registration system and, if the assignment criteria are met, to assign the domain name. The older applications would therefore be rejected.

How long will it take for me to obtain a domain name?

The registry will publish the registration request on its website for 20 days and during this time it will check whether the request meets the assignment criteria. This period will be extended if a formal objection is lodged with the registry during the publication period or if it is necessary to decide between competing requests.

Once the time limit of 20 days has expired and no competing registration applications or comments have been received, the domain name can then be assigned in principle within a period of 3 days. The registrar is informed of the assignment so that it can confirm it to its client. The whois service makes it possible to determine if the application is being processed and if the domain name has been assigned.

Can my registration request be rejected?

The registry may refuse to register a domain name if, after assessing the request, it is of the opinion that the assignment criteria are not fulfilled or if the request involves a name which cannot be registered in the .swiss domain. 

To avoid rejection of an application for a name and in order to facilitate its rapid processing, the applicant must pay attention to the following aspects:

  • The applicant is eligible for assignment of the name and the requested name is assignable (cf. assignment conditions above);
  • The company identification number (UID) which is provided corresponds to the applicant for the name (verification in the UID register [https://www.uid.admin.ch/search.aspx?lang=en]);
  • There is an objective relationship between the applicant and the requested name. If this objective relationship is not evident (e.g. when it is not the applicant's name or the name of a trade mark which the applicant owns), explanations must be included in the application. The registrar can use the “Intended use” field to send this information to the registry. So that the objective relationship between the applicant and the requested name can be ascertained, the application must not be made in the name of an intermediate provider (e.g. a web agency or marketing agency).

Assignment may also be refused:

  • in case of a justified objection;
  • in case of assignment to another registrant;
  • if the requested name is manifestly likely to be confused with a domain name that has already been assigned or is in the process of being assigned;
  • if the registry establishes an infringement of rights relating to a distinguishing mark of a third party;
  • if the underlying characteristics or values of the domain are incompatible with assignment.

An applicant whose registration request has been rejected has a right of appeal.

How can I appeal if the name that I want is not assigned to me?

If its registration request is rejected, the registrant has 40 days following the registry’s notification to the registrar of refusal to assign a name within which to lodge an appeal with the Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM).

Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM)
Numbering and Adressing Section
Post box 252
2501 Biel Bienne

OFCOM will undertake an examination of the dossier before making a decision. The appellant must pay the cost of the proceedings in accordance with the General Fees Ordinance of 8 September 2004 (CC 172.041.1), at a rate of CHF 210.00/hour.

Last modification 09.02.2018

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