Invention, Law of

Invention, Law of


the section of socialist law that deals with aspects of technological creativity. The basis of Soviet law of invention is the June 30, 1919, decree of the Council of People’s Commissars of the RSFSR entitled Statute on Inventions, which established invention protection based on socialist principles.

In the Soviet Union the regulation of questions relating to discoveries, inventions, and efficiency proposals is under the jurisdiction of the USSR. The fundamentals of the law of invention are defined by the Basic Principles of Civil Legislation of the USSR and the Union Republics of 1961; certain norms of the law of invention are contained in other legislative documents, including ordinances of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. Expanded rules in the area of invention work are given in the Statute on Discoveries, Inventions, and Rationalization Proposals (1973 edition), which was ratified by the Council of Ministers of the USSR. The Council of Ministers of the USSR issues acts on particular questions of the law of invention. The most important departmental acts on the law of invention are the instructions and clarifications given by the Committee on Inventions and Discoveries under the Council of Ministers of the USSR. These rules are compulsory for all ministries, departments, enterprises, and organizations regardless of their departmental subordination. The Union republics have been given the right to issue normative acts on certain questions of the law of invention (for example, on the right of inventors and rationalizers to additional housing space). The norms of Soviet law of invention are intended to promote the fastest and broadest possible use of technical innovations in the interest of society and to ensure material and moral incentives for the creators of new technology. These norms apply not only to inventions but also to rationalization proposals, which in a number of socialist countries include both technical and organizational proposals (in certain socialist countries, including the USSR, legal protection of discoveries has also been instituted).

The norms that determine requirements made for inventions and rationalization proposals (their characteristics) and the system for officially registering and evaluating them are of the greatest importance for the law of invention. Another important group of norms establishes the legal procedure for inventions and proposals. The legal procedure of inventions (including how they are used) differs depending on the system of their protection, which is fixed by issuing an inventor’s certificate or patent. The legal procedure established for inventions protected by inventor’s certificates applies (with certain exceptions) to rationalization proposals.

Another important place in the law of inventions is occupied by norms that secure a number of property and nonproperty rights for the authors of inventions and rationalization proposals. At their discretion inventors may demand issuance of an inventor’s certificate or patent; inventors and rationalizers have the right of authorship, that is, the right to be considered the author of the proposal they created after it has been evaluated in the established manner. This is indicated in the inventor’s certificate, patent, or certificate for a rationalization proposal. The authors of inventions and rationalization proposals adopted for introduction are also given a number of other rights and privileges. The basic property right is the right to remuneration; affiliated with it is the right to be notified of initial introduction and the right to familiarize oneself with materials dealing with the amount of remuneration, in particular, the calculation of the gains resulting from the invention or proposal. If technical norms and prices are changed because of the introduction of an invention or rationalization proposal, the former norms and price lists continue to be used to calculate savings and remuneration for six months from the day of introduction. Remuneration in amounts up to 1,000 rubles is not subject to the income tax. In suits to protect their rights, inventors and rationalizers do not have to pay court costs. Inventors and rationalizers have the right to assistance in the development and official registration of their proposals (physical resources, experimental facilities, consultation, and so on) and the right to take part in the introduction of their proposals both in the place where they work and in other organizations. Assistance in official registration of inventions is given to working inventors at their place of work, and for inventors who are not employed it is given by local agencies of the All-Union Society of Inventors and Rationalizers (VOIR).

Where other conditions are equal, inventors have a preferential right to occupy positions as scientific associates in scientific research institutes and at experimental enterprises. The authors of inventions that have been introduced and that offer solutions to major scientific or economic problems, parts of problems, or individual questions may be awarded the academic degree of candidate of sciences, and inventors who are widely known for their outstanding inventions can, as a special exception, be awarded the academic degree of doctor of sciences without defending a dissertation. The authors of valuable inventions and rationalization proposals are given the right to additional housing space on an equal basis with scientific workers. On the demand of the inventor the Committee on Inventions and Discoveries may give an invention the inventor’s name or a special name indicated by him. A record of all inventions and rationalization proposals introduced and the remuneration paid for them is made in the inventor’s labor book. In some Union republics the honorary titles of Honored Inventor and Honored Rationalizer have been established.

Bonuses may be paid to persons who have assisted in the introduction of inventions and rationalization proposals, who have shown initiative in using them on the basis of exchange of know-how or borrowing from the literature in the field, and who have participated in patent and licensing work.

The law of inventions also includes the norms that define management by the state of invention and rationalization, the conduct of mass organizational work in this area, the protection of state interests in inventions abroad, and the system of information on invention activities.