Domestic counterfeit market hits $15bn as Moscow fights back

From Chinese cigarettes made in Kalingrad to German car parts manufactured on the Georgian border, counterfeit items are part of the fabric of the Russian economy.

The United States Trade Representative’s recent Special 301 Report on intellectual property theft listed Russia as one of the 11 countries on the “Priority Watch List”, declaring its significant concerns regarding insufficient intellectual property rights protections, enforcement and actions within the country.

In no sector is counterfeit trade more rampant than the luxury goods market – valued in 2009 at $15 billion. We can safely presume the 2017 figure is significantly higher.

In the fight against counterfeiting, Russia has taken positive steps in the right direction, introducing new courts and legislation that helped deliver notable milestones in the last 12 months alone. Last year the Moscow Commercial Court found in favour of Christian Louboutin in a case against four Russian companies for sales of counterfeit perfumery products, recovering 24.3 million roubles ($365,500) for the French designer. Apple similarly received 1.7 million roubles ($25,000) from Russian companies that were selling fake products under Apple's brand name online.