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|.||In the following, the
term '(business) name' is used for the names of sole proprietorships, general or limited
partnerships and corporate bodies (corporations, corporations with unlimited partners,
limited liability companies, cooperatives, non-profit associations, foundations).
|.||The Central Business
Names Index on the internet is based on the Central Register of the Federal Commercial
Registry Office and is regularly updated. Details of the update status are shown in the
hit list and in the detail display.
|.||One of the functions
of the Central Register administered by the Federal Commercial Registry Office is to
ensure the so-called 'right of uniqueness' of registered business names. The Central
Register is kept as a database since 1990 and presently contains some 670'000 active
(461'000) and cancelled (205'000) Swiss business names, and in addition approx.
27000 (14'000 active, 13'000 cancelled) branch offices of inland and foreign companies. Corporate bodies are all
registered. All active and all since 1.1.2000 cancelled general or limited partnerships and sole proprietorships are registered
as well. The user should, in addition, be aware that sole proprietorships need only
register under certain conditions (see Commercial Register Ordinance § 52-56). Not
needing to register are in particular the independent professions (doctors, dentists,
veterinary doctors, engineers, architects, solicitors) and most agricultural businesses.
The Central Business Names Index contains also the entries published in the Swiss Official Gazette of Commerce for the period mentioned in the title, actually 12 months backwards.
The data and information contained in the Central Business Names Index are provided without warranty and have no effect in law whatsoever. Legally binding are solely the certified extract from the register and the published entry in the Swiss Official Gazette of Commerce. Before suing for payment of debt or taking legal action, we therefore strongly recommend you to get confirmation that the data on the current legal domicile of the entered business name is correct by obtaining a certified extract from the cantonal commercial register office. The official legal address of a legal subject can be obtained from the cantonal commercial register office in charge. This information is not available to the Federal Commercial Registry Office.
information on each legal subject is available in the Central Business Names Index:
|.||Starting at the legal
domicile displayed, the contact page of the cantonal commercial register office in charge
can be displayed via hyper link.
Starting from the swisswide identification number, the register entry of the corresponding legal subject in the cantonal server can be accessed/displayed.
Provided the regulations issued by the Federal Commercial Registry Office are adhered to (circular concerning the electronic transmission of commercial register data), it is a matter for the individual cantons to decide whether or not to provide commercial register data to the public via the internet. The cantons also decide whether or not to charge for this service.
Search in the
|.||Main access is via a
powerful full-text search targeting business names and their translations. By default the
search is extended to former versions and cancelled business names. It may also be
restricted to active business names and/or a particular legal form and/or a particular
cantonal commercial register and/or legal seat. Alternately, the new
identification number may be targeted
In the Central Business Names Index, no provision is made
for locating persons and their status within companies. Indeed, no persons / organs /
representative functions are contained in the Central Register of the Federal Commercial
Registry Office (the data source of the Central Business Names Index).
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|.||The Swiss Commercial
Register is administered by the cantons under the supervision of the Swiss Confederation.
In the 26 cantons, there are some 28 commercial register offices in total. All the
commercial register entries made by the cantonal register offices are published in the
Swiss Official Gazette of Commerce (SOGC) after having been checked and approved by the
Federal Commercial Registry Office.
The entries which are relevant to the Central Register are then added to it (with regard to content) and provided with the relevant Swiss Official Gazette of Commerce reference (e.g. 98/159).
register data (Federal Central Register, Swiss Official Gazette of Commerce, cantonal
register data and registration forms) are absolutely non-confidential. Indeed, the
information published in the Swiss Official Gazette of Commerce is legally presumed to be
|.||The principal purpose
of the Central Business Names Index on internet is to provide a convenient and powerful
swisswide search function, and thus provide the public with a service to determine the
legal domicile, the cantonal commercial register office in charge, and the latter's
Before suing for payment of debt or taking legal action, we advise you to ensure that the information on the current legal domicile of the registered firm is correct by requesting from the cantonal commercial register office in charge a certified extract from the Commercial Register.
The Central Business Names Index can also be used by the public to check whether or not the proposed name of a new business or change of name collides with that of an existing name.
Before starting a new business or changing an existing business name, we also strongly advise you to have the experienced personnel of the Federal Commercial Registry Office check whether the proposed name is likely to lead to difficulties in respect of other existing business names. The Central Business Names Index does not allow a reliable search for similar business names. A name search by the Federal Commercial Registry Office costs CHF 50.--. Orders are only accepted by fax (No. ++41 (0)31 322 44 83) or by post (not, however, by E-Mail or telephone).
|.||A second objective
that will undoubtedly prove of equal significance in the future is the provider function
of the Central Business Names Index for cantonal commercial register data on the
The user can access or display the detailed information of
the cantonal commercial register directly via a hyper link on the swisswide identification number.
|How to use||Content||Concept||.||Liability|
|.||The user's interface
is divided vertically into a search frame and a display/navigation frame. Before a search
is carried out, a list with the shields and names of the cantons are shown in the
display/navigation frame. The underlined Cantons provide their data on the internet; their
system is liked to Zefix via the identification number.
Click the canton's shield to display the cantonal commercial register offices. After carrying out the search, the hit list or, based on this (link on + or +++), the detailed company display and, if available, translations of the business name, former versions of the name, reference to the main office, a list of the branch offices and the entries published in the Swiss Official Gazette of Commerce (for the period mentioned in the title, actually 12 month back), will be displayed.
The Central Business Names Index is, in fact, a network linking federal administration data to those of the registers in the cantons. To distinguish the cantonal data, the latter are displayed on a different background, mostly white, and as a rule with the relevant cantonal shield as 'watermark'. At the top of the screen, the cantonal shield and the designation of the cantonal commercial register office are always displayed.
|.||The search frame
contains the input boxes for your inquiry:
The search criteria provided in each of the five input boxes are cumulative (AND condition). When several criteria are entered in the 'Search for business name' box, these are likewise cumulated. In the input, no distinction is made between capitalized and normal text. Characters such as öäüéàè may all be replaced by the corresponding character without an accent. The criteria entered in 'Search for business name apply both to the name itself and also to it's registered translations. Thus it is only logical that a search for 'credito svizzero' will also find 'Credit Suisse'.
Using the 'Clear' button, you can delete previously entered criteria, and with the 'search' button you can begin the search. For this, at least three consecutive characters must be entered in the 'Search for business name' box or, alternately, the swiss identification number (CH-number) must be entered in the respective box. The input criteria, number of hits and hit list containing the first 1000 business names appear in the display/navigation frame.
Using 'Search options', you can restrict the default 'include former versions / cancelled names' to '(only) actual (active) business names'. The list of hits in the display/navigation frame will show active business names in bold type and previous versions or cancelled names in normal type.
If you are unsure of the correct spelling (e.g. Meier, Mayer or Maier), activate the 'phonetic search'. (Beware: the phonetic search does not convert German umlauts, so that a search for 'Müller' will not find 'Mueller').
|.||After carrying out a
successful search, you will see at the top of the display/navigation frame the search
criteria, number of hits, status and (below) list of hits. In the list of hits, you are
provided with the following information (from left to right):
Actual business names are shown in bold type, former versions and cancelled names in normal type.
The link to the legal domicile takes you to the contact page of the cantonal register in charge (contact page). This is updated by the Federal Commercial Registry Office based on cantonal commercial register office data. Now click the 'back' button in the top bar of the browser until the list of hits reappears.
The '+' symbol means that no further information concerning the business name is available. The '+++' symbol means that, in addition, former versions of the name and/or references between main office and branch offices are and/ore publications of the Swiss Offical Gazette of Commerce available . When the hyper link '+' or '+++' is selected, the details will be displayed. Starting from the detail display, you further navigate using the same symbols/links as described above. To return to the list of hits, click the 'back' button in the top bar of the browser until the list of hits reappears.
The new (13 digit) swisswide identification number is displayed in the form CH-RRR.X.XXX.XXX-P. RRR is the number of the commercial register office which first registered the business name or which issued the number, X stands for the number itself, and P is a check digit.
When the hyper link is activated on the new identification number (usually underlined in blue), you can display the register entry on the internet server of the corresponding cantonal commercial register office by selecting it. Cantonal data are displayed on a contrasting background (usually white with cantonal shield as 'watermark'), that is superimposed on the user's interface of the Central Business Names Index. To return to the user's interface and the list of hits, click the 'back' button in the top bar of the browser until the list of hits reappears.
The detail display shows hyper links and symbols having the
same functions as in the list of hits. The link to the symbol '+++' permits navigation in
the detail display from main offices to branch offices and vice-versa.
|.||The normal search
does a precise search: every occurrence matching the key is shown. The capitals and the
small letters, as well as the letters with and without accents, are equivalent.
For a valid search, at least three consecutive characters
must be entered in the 'Search for business name' box or, alternately, the swiss
identification number (CH-number) must be entered in the respective box. Several strings
of consecutive characters are cumulative (no explicit 'and' operator must be written).
Criteria in all of the 5 search boxes are cumulative too. A search with the boolean
'or' is not possible.
The input of a string of at least three characters will find all business names which contain this string at any location within any of the words of the name or it's translations. For example: input of "ofa" finds 'Wohnbaugenossenschaft Wofa', 'St. Christophorus Autofahrer und Chauffeur Club', etc..
Also, several character strings may be input in sequence. The more characters per string and the more strings that are used for the search, the quicker the search is made.
If you search a particular word of a business name or of
it's translations, enter it as in the following example:
The results will show 'Fahrrad, Mofa Ersatzteile AG'
but not 'Promoface AG'.
Abbreviations can be registered in various ways. The characters in the abbreviation can be written without a space, e.g. TIS, WM, or be separated by a period, space or special character, e.g. T.I.S., C&A, C + A. To improve searching for abbreviations, those are indexed in addition in a special way suppressing blancs, dots and commas. By entering the search terms in the examples below, you will get the following results:
In the database, '&' is often replaced by the '+'
character, and thus does not always correspond to the official spelling of the business
name. For a better result, you should always carry out the search using both a '+' and a
The business names often contain words or abbreviations
with less than three consecutive characters, e.g. 'Z AG', 'WM Boutique'. A simple search
using Z AG would be an insufficient/invalid search criterion, and using WM Boutique as
search criterion - as the first character string contains less than three characters - the
letters 'WM' would be suppressed as invalid. To avoid this, carry out the search using the
When searching for a single character, an underscore must always be placed in front of and behind the character (one character plus two underscores = 3 characters). With two characters, to insure that the search criterion is valid, at least one underscore must be placed in front of or behind the character string.
A search for the persons in law whose names contain 'A -
Z', 'A à Z', 'A to Z' can be entered as follows:
By this means, all business names will be found which contain both of the letters A and Z separately (alone) and in an arbitrary sequence at any place within the business name (or it's translations).
|.||The phonetic search
does a rough search: every occurrence whose coding is the same as that of the key will be
shown. The coding rules are different for each language and try to follow their phonetic
particularities. Example: the phonetic search of "Meyer" give "Meier",
"Maier" and "Mayer" too.
In the practice, that method works well, although the results aren't satisfactory in specific cases. It allows you to search for pieces of words, what the Soundex method cannot, and takes care of vowels in german, french and italian. It gets often better results than the Soundex method. For example, the string "Meyer" allows you to find "Mayer" and "Meier" too, but will not find the words "Marie" or "Maya", which are found with Soundex. That method is useful if Soundex delivers too many matches.
The special code '_' can be used to reduce the number of matches.
|.||The Soundex phonetic
search does a search based on the first letter and the consonants it contains. It
therefore works for full words only, and allows you to find words whose vowels are
unknown. The coding rules are different for each language.
In the practice, that method can get bad results, although it's proved in flight reservation systems. The searching key must be full words only. It is efficient to find words containing at least 3 consonants after the first letter. Less consonants will increase the matching list and the searching time.
Search for SOGC
Via the hyperlink "Search for SOGC", you can carry out different searches. The following possibilities are available:
1. Search for SOGC publications with a specific date (default-value is the last edition of the SOGC). The following restrictions can also be entered:
These search restrictions allow, for example, to search all SOGC publications published 19th October 2005 concerning new registrations of limited companies in the canton of Zurich.
The following restrictions regarding the content of the SOGC publications are available:
The qualifying of the SOGC publications is operated by the Federal Commercial Registry Office once the entries made by the cantonal register offices have been checked and approved.
2. Search according to the publication number (this number is mentioned in brackets below the entry published in the SOGC).
The result is a list of business names with SOGC publication details. This hit list leads via hyperlink (+ or +++) to the information contained in Zefix and to the SOGC publications (by activating the identification number you can also call the cantonal data).
|Liability||Content||Concept||How to use||.|
|.||.||The data and references contained in the Central Business Names Index are provided without warranty and have no legal effect whatsoever. Legally binding are solely the certified extracts issued by the commercial register office in charge and the published entry in the Swiss Official Gazette of Commerce.|