WIPO grants Switzerland own name in cyberspace

Swiss authorities won the rights to their country's name in cyberspace, following a ruling by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), an AFP report said.

The report said a WIPO arbitrator awarded the Swiss Confederation control of the Internet domain names "schweiz.ch," "suisse.ch," and "svizzera.ch," or "Switzerland" in the Alpine country's majority German, and minority French and Italian, respectively.

The report said that currently, the three names directed surfers to a Web site that offered a free Swiss-based email service used by 45,000 people and also sold Swiss-themed accessories marked with the country's emblematic red and white flag.

The site, which was registered by Zurich engineer Stefan Frei in 1995, also provided an email service and information about Switzerland's political system and history, the report said.

Swiss authorities sought the rights to the three names on the grounds that they planned to create an official Internet portal in all four of the country's official languages, to go alongside the existing site "admin.ch."

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