Boris Simonov, the head of the Federal Service for Intellectual Property, said 15 defense-industry enterprises in Russia used patents to protect their products, whereas the majority of companies had used very few patents since they were founded.
"By exporting military equipment that is not protected by patents we are losing $5-6 billion a year, whereas our rivals and competitors aggressively use protectionist legislation to prevent sales of military hardware without patents," he said.
Simonov said that the current situation had been caused by old assumptions that the absence of patents allowed defense companies to maintain secrecy.
"But this approach is extremely risky given the current state of international military-technical cooperation," he said, adding that each design of modern military equipment required at least 100 patents to ensure its full protection.
Arms exports remain a key element of the Russian economy. President Vladimir Putin said in March that Russia had increased its military hardware exports to more than $6 billion in 2005 and had supplied weapons to 61 countries.