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Russia fights against cybersquatting

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A recent amendment has been approved by the Russian Cabinet and stipulates that "registration of trademarks cannot be refused on the grounds that an identical domain name already exists".

However, it does not avoid cybersquatting, the widespread practice of registering domains around well-known brands in order to sell or exploit them at profit. At this day, the common way to solve .ru domain disputes is to file a case at arbitration courts. According to Baker & McKenzie, dispute resolution costs can fluctuate between $5000 to $50,000 (source: Moscow Times).

Most companies opt for directly buying domains owned by cybersquatters, because it can be less expensive and quicker than arbitration courts, or they might fail to provide evidence of rights on the preferred domains. Sales of .ru domains can reach an amount from $500 to hundred thousand dollars. For example, vodka.ru was recently sold for $50,000 whereas msn.ru was bought by Microsoft at an undisclosed price.

According to Ru-Center, the .ru regulation authority, 10% of the 1.25 million registered .ru domains still belong to cybersquatters. Since introduction of this amendment, cybersquatting might have decreased by 50%.

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