Several important bills are in the pipeline in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), as Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, wants to tackle fake sunglasses in the domestic market, while members of Azerbaijan's parliament are planning to ban over-the-counter sales of any eyewear.
At least 33 percent of the products from the overall so-called light industry sector sold in Russia are either counterfeit or smuggled, Putin said during a government meeting in late August, according to a release on the Kremlin's website. In 2013, this figure was 39 percent. Nevertheless, data on the trend are still discouraging, he admitted, ordering federal agencies to enhance the fight against the illegal products.
Russia's Industry and Trade Ministry plans to take on both counterfeit and smuggling in the light industry sector through the introduction of special labeling with electronic chips, according to the draft project, posted at the Ministry's website.
The ministry lists sunglasses among the segments of the light industry where such changes must be put in place, while not saying when it is actually going to happen.
In 2016, the ministry introduced a pilot project for labeling fur coats with electronic chips. As a result, the share of fur coats produced or imported to Russia legally jumped by nearly six times last year, as compared to 2015, the ministry noted.
Yuri Vopilov, general director of BrandMonitor, Russia's intellectual property protection agency, has estimated that sunglasses, led by sport sunglasses, alongside other sport accessories such as shoes and bags, are among the items that are most commonly being faked or illegally imported into the country, as he wrote in his blog on Sept. 18.
He noted further that in recent years a real boom was observed taking place in the trading of illegal products over the internet, with dozens of e-stores operating across the web.
The problem of sunglasses of “unclear origin” was also raised in a bill submitted to the Azerbaijan Parliament by a group of MPs on Aug. 28.
The over-the-counter sale without a prescription by a healthcare professional for all kind of eyewear, including sunglasses, must be permanently banned in Azerbaijan, the bill said.
One of the proponents of the bill, Musa Guliev, told a local news agency that the authorities should no longer allow a practice whereby anybody can sell any type of eyewear in any place in Azerbaijan. It is also important to prevent the sale of sunglasses of unknown origin, he added. All those aspects were reflected in the bill that has been recently submitted.
In early September, the bill was submitted to several government agencies for consideration, asking for recommendations and the return of the bill to the Parliament within a month. If there is no opposition, the new rules could come into force as soon as early 2018.