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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Traders Claim Russia Loses Billions to Copyright Fraud

A conference of 200 international business, legal and government expertThursday urged Russia's government to crack down on trademark and copyright violators who are believed to be costing companies millions of dollars.

"Due to the lack of adequate enforcement, rampant violations exist in the areas of trademark, patent and copyright infringement throughout Russia today," said a concluding statement of the two-day International Conference on the Protection of Trademarks and Patents in Russia.

Organizers said the statement, which included a number of recommendations for protecting intellectual property in Russia, will be submitted to Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin.

By some estimates, American and Russian firms alone have lost $1.3 billion because of trademark and copyright violations in the past several years, said Peter Charow, executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Moscow.

Many participants were critical of Russia's limited efforts to protect trademarks and copyrights, which could have a bearing on its efforts to join international bodies such as the World Trade Organization.

In addition to establishing a "Supreme Patent Chamber" and bringing patent laws into line with international norms, Russia should better enforce the laws it already has, organizers said.

"Russia has all needed laws protecting [intellectual property]," said Evgeny Arievich, vice president of the Intellectual Property Agency, a private Russian firm dealing in patent and trademark issues. "But these laws are reinforced neither by the government nor by the law-enforcement authorities."

Charow said protection of intellectual property rights was important to Russia's economic growth, a fact he said was increasingly recognized in the burgeoning private sector.

that the problem is recognized as a very real problem by the Russian companies that are trying to build their businesses here and those Russian companies that try to integrate into the world economy," he said.