US Issues First Report On Russia’s WTO Implementation

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The first annual United States report on Russia’s implementation of World Trade Organization commitments since it joined the WTO last year shows that Russia has taken many steps to comply with its commitments on intellectual property rights. But the US report found some areas where Russia is lagging.

The US Trade Representative’s Report on Russia’s Implementation of the WTO Agreement [pdf] was issued today.

In its accession to the WTO last year, Russia agreed to full terms of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) without a transition period.

Russia has been moving steadily on a number of fronts. Examples listed are: a law specifically dedicated to decreasing online piracy of television and film, passed in June 2013, with additional amendments underway; conducting unannounced raids on optical media (e.g., CD-Roms) factories; establishing a specialised court for IP cases in summer of 2013; and reportedly working to create a specialised IP agency that would consolidate patent, trademark and copyright activities, including collective management, apparently to be in place in mid-2014.

However, the US said, “Notwithstanding these actions, the current IPR enforcement environment in Russia remains weak,” particularly on software piracy and counterfeiting, and customs efforts. In fact, overall, the US said that IP enforcement appears to be on the decline rather than increasing.

Other areas in need of work were listed, such as a “burdensome” collecting licensing regime (which, the US notes, is not actually required under TRIPS).

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