The government of Switzerland is trying to get its hands on three domain names owned by a Swiss citizen.
The government claims to have a right to three specific URLs – www.schweiz.ch, www.suisse.ch and www.svizzera.ch (all translate to the country’s name) and wants to use the domains for it www.ch.ch site. Switzerland is going to WIPO to try to get the domains.
This seems to be a clear case of reverse domain name hijacking. The owner of the domains, Stefan C. Frei, registered the domains back in 1995. It would be like the US government going after the owner of UnitedStates.com.
According to an article at Swissinfo.org:
The authorities approached [Frei] for the first time in 2000 and told him they needed his URLs for a virtual desk, an official site aimed at making services of the administration more accessible to citizens.
He refused to hand over his web address, but suggested the authorities use an alternative URL – www.ch.ch – for this purpose, which they have been doing since.
Several years on, the chancellery argues it wants the coveted address to further develop e-government, the state’s electronic services, he said.
Frei said he had offered to put a banner with a special link on his site to attract possible readers to the federal administration website, but his suggestion fell on deaf ears.