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          IP protection key to economic development and growth in Russia, ICC BASCAP warns leaders

          • Moscow, 22 October 2012

          The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) told business leaders and government officials – including Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev – gathered in Moscow for the International Forum on Anti-counterfeiting 2012 that efforts to stabilize the economy and stimulate economic growth must include intellectual property rights (IPR) protection in order to drive innovation, development and jobs.

          IP in Russia

          "This conference comes at an important time as Russia joins the World Trade Organization (WTO) and takes on direct participation in the WTO Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)," wrote ICC Secretary General Jean-Guy Carrier in an open letter to the Forum participants. "Russia's adoption of TRIPs will be a significant boost to the fight against counterfeiting - here in the Russian Federation and worldwide."

          Representing ICC's Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) initiative at the Forum, BASCAP Director Jeffrey Hardy presented the findings from the BASCAP report Promoting and Protecting Intellectual Property Rights in the Russian Federation to Mr Medvedev. The report sets out BASCAP's recommendations for policy and legislative changes needed to bring Russia's IP regime and IP enforcement efforts up to international standards.

          "I read with interest ICC's recommendations, which are very much in line with our priorities in what needs to be done in the Russian Federation," Mr Medvedev said in his closing remarks.

          Just 20 years ago, Russia was one of the worst IPR infringers in the world, and even with some recent reforms, counterfeiting and piracy in Russia still amounts to a staggering 24% of key retail sales, equal to nearly a trillion rubles, according to the report.

          "Combating counterfeiting and piracy must become a public policy priority in Russia," Mr Hardy said. "This effort must start with the government sending a clear message to the criminal networks and others involved in counterfeiting and piracy that this activity will no longer be tolerated - and that increased enforcement of stronger IP laws will result in increased punishment."

          These actions will help convince legitimate business owners and consumers that the government is serious about protecting IP rights, and encourage them to support these efforts. IPR protection standards in Russia are generally recognized to be considerably below the levels of many developed and developing countries. Its music market, for example, remains one of the most badly performing markets in the world.

          "Economic growth is closely related to how well the economy encourages, stimulates and fosters its creativity and innovation," Mr Hardy said. "A critical factor in maximizing the value of this intellectual capital is a clear legal and regulatory system that recognizes the importance of the underlying intellectual property and establishes and protects the property rights of the creators, inventors and innovators."

          The BASCAP report shows the growing body of evidence describing the positive link between the strengthening of IPRs and economic development and increased rates of innovation. It illustrates the important role that IPR plays in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) and promoting R&D and technology transfer. For Russia, recent studies by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) show that copyright-related industries alone contribute more than 6% to GDP and over 7% to employment in Russia.

          The BASCAP study outlines a number of policy and legislative recommendations including the need to:

          • address inadequacies in civil enforcement procedures
          • improve action against Internet infringements
          • strengthen criminal IP law, strengthen border controls and customs enforcement competence
          • establish an effective dialogue and cooperation between Russian authorities, IP rights holders and other stakeholders

          Another recommendation is for Russia to develop a comprehensive national IP strategy that identifies needed legal and policy reforms, delineates implementation and enforcement responsibilities and allocates sufficient resources to ensure effective enforcement.

          "We believe it is important for Russia to establish a new high-level IP authority to coordinate and implement the national IP strategy and the associated legislative and enforcement reforms," Mr Hardy said. "The combination of a new national IP strategy and a new IP coordination office will demonstrate that the Russian government is committed to delivering incentives for growth in innovation and technology development that strong IP rights and enforcement can provide."

          ICC, through its BASCAP initiative, and in partnership with ICC Russia and Rusbrand, stands ready to do its part to help the Government of the Russian Federation significantly advance IPR.

          "The value of intellectual property needs to be understood and respected by policymakers and enforcement officials," said Alexey Popovichev, Executive Director of Rusbrand, the association of Branded Goods Manufacturers in Russia. "Government should be a high-profile champion for IP and the knowledge-intensive industries that rely on IP to monetize their ideas. Such businesses need the Russian government to take a more active role in protecting IP rights,promoting the value IP and its importance to business development and economic growth."

          BASCAP said its recommendations are put forward as a roadmap for improvement and can go a long way in helping to meet new and higher standards required by WTO TRIPS. The full set of policy and legislative recommendations are delineated in the report.

          Download the Promoting and Protecting Intellectual Property Rights in the Russian Federation report

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