MOSCOW, February 14 (RIA Novosti) - Almost a million counterfeit items, worth a total of $4.3 million, were confiscated in Russia during 2005, a Russian deputy prosecutor general said Tuesday. Vladimir Kolesnikov said that in 2005 over 90,000 companies were inspected in the country. Of these, over 350 were found to be producing counterfeit products, and were closed down.
Valery Dyatlenko, a deputy chairman of the committee on security of the State Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament, said that Russia loses around $3 billion annually from the production and sale of counterfeit products.
Kolesnikov called for harsher penalties for underground producers, including the confiscation of property.
He added that approximately 3,000 criminal cases, involving about 1,500 people, had been opened in Russia on charges of copyright violations and 78 people had been convicted.
Earlier, the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) sent a report to U.S. trade representative Rob Portman, stating that violations of intellectual property rights continue to be more serious problem in Russia than any where else in the world.
According to the U.S. experts, losses from copyright piracy in Russia amounted to $1.7 billion in 2005 and have exceeded $6.5 billion in the past five years. The report says virtually all films, music, software and books are counterfeited in Russia. Pirated products account for 67-85% of all copyright material.
IIPA experts recommended Portman to terminate Russia's participation in the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), a program designed to help developing economies and provide duty-free treatment to certain exports to the United States.