Gowling WLG (International) Inc - Russia
The Russian Federation’s Prime Minister, Mikhail Mishustin, has approved new measures to prevent the illicit trafficking of counterfeit goods, which will be effective until 2025.
Since Russia is a member of the Eurasian Economic Union - which provides for the harmonisation of domestic legislation with regard to in combatting illicit trafficking among all member nations of the union - this initiative is expected to have a wide-ranging effect beyond Russia’s borders.
The anti-counterfeiting strategy will be implemented in several areas. The first involves legislation aimed at raising penalties for the manufacture, storage, transport and sale of counterfeit and fake goods. It will also include provisions for alcohol and tobacco goods. An example of these can be seen in proposals currently being drafted on amendments to regulatory acts, regarding the introduction of mandatory certification for products containing nicotine.
A new mechanism is being developed to hold persons involved in leasing and property management liable for goods being sold in the commercial spaces they manage, which will broaden the scope of accountability. They too will now have to ensure the legal circulation of goods, protection of consumer rights and prevent consumers being misled with respect to the legality, quality and safety of goods being sold on their premises.
The Russian government is, meanwhile, working on amendments to procedural and criminal codes in order to consolidate provisions for seized counterfeit goods and their storage and destruction. It will also address what is to be done with the equipment used to produce the fake goods and transport them.
Additionally, the government may develop a database of mala fide manufacturers, importers, suppliers and sellers.
The new measures are designed to reduce the share of counterfeit products in priority sectors including chemicals, electronics, food production, the light industry, pharmaceuticals, automotives, agriculture, engineering, and arts and crafts.
There is also talk of developing a labelling-and-tracking system for more types of commercial goods. Currently, tobacco, pharmaceuticals, footwear, perfumery, photographs, some automotives and other consumer products are being labelled in this way.
Beginning this year, random inspections of accredited businesses may take place in order to confirm that they are complying with requirements directed at preventing the sale of counterfeit goods.
The scope of the sectors that will be subject to these inspections is expected to expand in the years ahead.