Raising the bar: meeting WTO obligations


Elena Solovyova

Now that it is a member of the World Trade Organization, Russia must lift its game against the counterfeiters and pirates. Elena Solovyova finds out what progress has been made and where Russia is falling short.

When it joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in December 2011, Russia committed to harmonising its trade laws and practices with those of other member states. But the accession has wide-ranging implications for how Russia protects intellectual property rights, laid down in the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement.

Russia must continue to investigate and prosecute the owners of websites that infringe copyright, if their servers are located in the country. Similarly, it must seek to reduce the sale of counterfeit goods, punishing the people responsible. Russia must also apply the rules set out by the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, an international agreement governing copyright protection.

Resulting from bilateral negotiations with the US, Russia has other obligations when tackling counterfeiting and piracy. It has been shutting down websites that illegally distribute music and other copyrighted works, and has enacted laws to protect pharmaceutical test data from falling into the wrong hands. It has also introduced criminal penalties to deter piracy and counterfeiting, strengthened border enforcement and brought Russia’s laws into compliance with the international standards under TRIPS.

WTO, Russia Trademark Law, 301 Report, anti-counterfeiting