First Cyrillic domain names launched

Russian Federation
The first Cyrillic domain names were launched on May 13 2010. The first active sites are 'президент.рф' ('president.rf') and 'правительство.рф' ('government.rf'). It is expected that, by the end of May, a number of governmental bodies will have registered Cyrillic domain names.
 
When the launch was initially planned, it was decided that there would be a priority reservation period (due to end in mid-March 2010) for trademark owners and governmental structures. This rule was designed to prevent cybersquatters from registering domain names in bad faith and subsequently selling them to interested parties. This priority reservation period was due to be followed by an auction and, in the summer of 2010, by an open registration period, during which Cyrillic domain names would be available to anybody on a first-come, first-served basis.

However, the deadlines have changed several times. The priority reservation period has now been extended to September 2010, and the auction seems to have been scrapped. Indeed, several problems surfaced during the priority reservation period. For example, certain companies write their names not only in Cyrillic, but in also in Latin script, which made the work of the registrars more difficult. During the first five months of the current year, approximately 10,000 domain names have been reserved.
 
Moreover, some browsers do not support the Cyrillic alphabet in domain names and some search engine do not understand it. The browsers and search engine decode the symbols in Latin script and convert them into Cyrillic script. Sometimes, the symbols are converted incorrectly - or not at all. It will take several weeks to iron out these difficulties.
 
Finally, the rules regulating the reservation process have been changed in a bid to simply the task of trademark owners. It is now possible to reserve a domain name corresponding to a trademark which consists of a combination of Cyrillic and Latin characters. In this case, the Latin part of the mark will be either translated or transliterated into Russian.
 
Vladimir Biriulin, Gorodissky & Partners, Moscow

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