Russia remains on the Priority Watch List in 2015 as a result of continued and significant challenges to IPR protection and enforcement, notably in the areas of copyright infringement and trademark counterfeiting. In particular, the United States remains concerned over stakeholder reports that IPR enforcement continues to decline overall in 2014, following similar declines in the prior two years, including a reduction in resources for enforcement personnel.
Copyright infringement is a persistent problem in Russia, including, but not limited to, online piracy. Although Russia’s antipiracy legislation continues to evolve, its impact is unclear, as is whether further, needed modifications will occur. Russia remains home to many sites facilitating online piracy, which damage both the market for legitimate content in Russia as well as in other countries. While Russian courts issued the first two criminal convictions for online piracy this year, both resulted in suspended sentences, undermining the deterrent effect of the convictions. Enforcement against copyright infringement that does not take place online is also a notably low priority for law enforcement, particularly in major cities. Enforcement actions combating end-user piracy have declined sharply, as have the overall number of raids, criminal charges, and convictions. The United States urges Russia to ensure that on-going legislative and enforcement efforts will result in copyright enforcement mechanisms that are fair, effective, and transparent.
The lack of enforcement of trademarks has resulted in the continued problem of counterfeit goods in Russia. Stakeholders express concern that counterfeit goods continue to be manufactured, transhipped and sold in Russia, including counterfeit agricultural chemicals, electronics, information technology, auto parts, consumer goods, machinery, and other products. The smuggling of Chinese-origin counterfeit products also continued unabated over the Kazakhstan-China border and through Kyrgyzstan, continuing on into Russia. Counterfeit pharmaceuticals are also manufactured in Russia and made available through online pharmacies. However, the United States welcomes the fact that in 2014 Russia’s State Duma adopted new legislation aimed at criminalizing pharmaceutical counterfeiting as well as the distribution of fake and adulterated medicines.
The United States also is concerned about Russia’s implementation of the commitments it made in the WTO Working Party Report related to the protection against unauthorized disclosure of, or reliance on, undisclosed test or other data generated to obtain marketing approval for pharmaceutical products.
The United States urges Russia to develop a more comprehensive, transparent and effective legal framework and enforcement strategy to reduce IPR infringement, particularly the sale of counterfeit goods, and the piracy of copyright-protected content.