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WASHINGTON, May 1 (Itar-Tass) - Russia remains in the U.S. intellectual property rights (IPR) “priority watch list”, according to the “Special 301” Report released by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) on Wednesday, May 1.
“Russia remains on the Priority Watch List in 2013 as a result of continued significant challenges to IPR protection, notably inadequate enforcement against the growing problem of online piracy,” the report said.
The report reviews the state of intellectual property rights protection and enforcement in trading partners around world.
However, the United States is encouraged by Russia’s agreement to the U.S.-Russian Intellectual Property Rights Action Plan (Action Plan) in December 2012, which identifies objectives for IPR protection and expresses a shared belief that “strong IPR protection and enforcement are vital to promoting innovation and creativity by securing the rights of innovators and the creative community, attracting high-technology investment, and fostering the jobs necessary for long-term sustainable growth,” the document said.
The reported noted improvements in the protection of IPR in Russia, including a new unified fee system for issuing patents and registering trademarks, licenses, and assignments, enactment of amendments to the Law on Circulation of Medicines, which addresses protection of undisclosed test data, revocation of its reservation to Article 18 of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, which commits Russia to providing protection for works that existed prior to 1995 that were still under copyright protection in the United States and all other Berne member countries.
The United States also welcomed the trends described in the most recent data available on the usage of pirated software in Russia, which is reported to have dropped during the last six years, although software piracy remains a significant problem despite this progress, the report said.
At the same time, USTR stressed that the information available indicates that “enforcement has decreased in the last year, specifically that the number of criminal raids declined significantly in 2012, the number of resources devoted to IPR economic crime enforcement sharply declined over the past two years, and the initiation of criminal IPR cases also declined.”
“The United States is particularly troubled by the fact that online piracy is growing in Russia and that no effective enforcement strategy has yet been launched to combat this problem,” the report said.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative welcomed the fact that the Action Plan endorses action on these important issues and reflects a commitment to support legislation addressing online piracy.
The U.S. urged Russia to enact an adequate and effective ISP liability system for copyright infringement to facilitate cooperation between rights holders and ISPs and combat the growth of illegal online markets for infringing goods.
“Effective implementation of these commitments will advance Russia’s IPR protection and enforcement. The United States looks forward to its continued work with Russia on these and other matters,” the report said.