Conditions for the registration and the registration process


What should natural persons be aware of?

Applications for the registration of .swiss domain names submitted by private persons before 24 April 2024 will be rejected. It is not possible to reserve a domain name.

From 24 April 2024, natural persons domiciled in Switzerland and Swiss nationals will be able to apply for the registration of a .swiss domain name by contacting one of the accredited registrars or one of their resellers https://www.nic.swiss/nic/en/home/registrieren-sie-ihre-swiss-domain/wen-kontaktieren-.html.

The .swiss domain is available exclusively to the Swiss community. Foreign nationals not resident in Switzerland cannot therefore register .swiss domain names.

Natural persons will only be allowed to register a .swiss domain name if it contains at least one of the following designations: their own official name or another name registered in the civil register, forename, married name, registered partnership name, the name received in a religious order, the artist's name under which they have become known or a name attached to a distinctive sign (e.g. a registered trade mark) to which they have the rights. A freely chosen designation may be added to any of these compulsory designations.   

Names that correspond to or are similar to generic names (e.g. Barbieri, Marchand, Metzger) cannot be allocated to a natural person. Such names can only be allocated to a natural person if they are supplemented by another name, for example a first name, a ficticious name or a reference to a hobby.

Swiss nationals domiciled abroad may not use a .swiss domain name for commercial activities from abroad. Their domain name may only be used for private, associative or charitable purposes. 

The social insurance number (OASI) and address provided in the registration application must be that of the domain name applicant. 

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;

  • from 24 April 2024, natural persons domiciled in Switzerland and Swiss nationals.


Branches of foreign companies are not eligible. 

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.

From 24 April 2024, natural persons will be able to register .swiss domain names provided that they contain at least one of the following designations: their own official name or another name registered in the civil register, forename, married name, registered partnership name, the name received in a religious order, the artist's name under which they have become known or a name attached to a distinctive sign (e.g. a registered trade mark) to which they have the rights. A freely chosen name may be added to this required name (geographical location, profession, hobby, etc.). 

Names that correspond to or are similar to generic names (e.g. Barbieri, Marchand, Metzger) cannot be allocated to a natural person. From 24 April 2024, such names will only be allocated to a natural person if they are supplemented by another name, for example a first name, a ficticious name or a reference to a hobby.

If the applicant is a person other than a natural person, 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 may expect to find on a .swiss website only products originating in Switzerland or services offered by a company domiciled in Switzerland. If this is the case, it is important to avoid any risk of misleading consumers about the origin of the products.

As a consequence, Swiss nationals domiciled abroad may not use a .swiss domain name for commercial activities from abroad. Their domain name may only be used for private, associative or charitable purposes. 

Since 2017, new rules 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. For detailed information on this subject please contact: .    

Phone: +41 31 377 77 77

swissnessinfo@ipi.ch

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

 

Conditions for geographic names

The names of cantons and their two-letters abbreviations, names of localities and names of 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);
  • If the applicant is a sole proprietorship, care must be taken to provide the full name of the applicant according to the entry in the Commercial Register;
  • 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 a third company or 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 100.00 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.

A .swiss domain name requested by several applicants is allocated in the following order of priority: 

  • in principle to the public body or public law organisation if it is in competition with private applicants and the designation required is, as such, of public interest;

  • to the public body or public law organisation that intends to use the domain name concerned in a manner that provides significantly greater added value for the Swiss community than that provided by other public authorities or organisations of this type. If no project satisfies this requirement and the public bodies or organisations cannot agree on a single or joint application, the registry will not allocate the domain name;

  • in principle to the applicant which has a right attached to a trade mark corresponding to the domain name concerned if it is in competition with applicants not benefiting from such a right;

  • to the highest bidder in an auction when the applicants have competing rights under trade mark law to the domain name concerned, unless holding an auction appears inappropriate in view of all the circumstances or the applicants concerned. Auctions take place as follows:single-round sealed-bid auction in which each bidder submits their bid to the registry independently of the others in a form prescribed by the registry. The registry allocates the domain name to the highest bidder once the bidder has paid the amount offered;

  • to a legal entity in competition with natural persons (natural persons will be able to register .swiss domain names from 24 April 2024);

  • to the applicant who first requested the domain name concerned, where all applicants intend to use the domain name for non-commercial purposes;

  • to applicants that intend to use the domain name in a way that will provide significantly greater added value for the Swiss community than the uses envisaged by the other applicants. If no project meets this requirement and the applicants cannot agree on a single or joint application, the registry will decide on the allocation by drawing lots or holding an auction.


Where identical applications are submitted by the same applicant to different registrars, the registry reserves the right to consider the application last received via the registration system and to assign the domain name if the allocation criteria are met. Any prior applications are therefore 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 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);

  • From 24 April 2024, natural persons will be able to register a .swiss domain name provided that it contains at least one of the following designations: their own official name or another name registered in the civil register, forename, married name, registered partnership name, the name received in a religious order, the artist's name under which they have become known or a name attached to a distinctive sign (e.g. a registered trade mark) to which they have the rights. A freely chosen designation may be added to any of these compulsory designations (geographical location, profession, hobby, etc.);

  • If the applicant is a natural person, the social insurance number (OASI) and the address provided as part of the registration application must belong to the applicant of the domain name (natural persons will only be able to register .swiss domain names from 24 April 2024);

  • There is an objective relationship between the applicant and the requested name when the applicant is a person other than a natural person. 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).

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 256
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 30.01.2024

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