Day of Inventors and Innovators: Know-How, Trade Secrets, and Unique Copyrights


The Day of Inventors and Innovators is celebrated annually on the last Saturday of June in Russia; this year this is June 24th.

Initially, the Day of Inventors and Innovators was something like the Nobel Prize awards. On June 25th, the Academy of Science considered all innovative propositions put forth in the year preceding, chose the best, and awarded their authors.

With time, the initial meaning of the Day of Inventors and Innovators changed; starting in 1979 this day became a professional holiday for all inventors and innovators. Of course, for each inventor the understanding of copyright is important. Aleksey Minbaleev, doctor of legal sciences at South Ural State University told us about what this is and the subtleties that exist.

– Aleksey Vladimirovich, tell us please, what is copyright and what are the objects and subjects of it?

– Copyright is a collection of norms that regulate the relationship between the creation of something in science, literature, or art. It’s regulated by the RF Civil Codex, which does not limit the list of objects of copyright law. So, any product of creative work by a person which has been formally expressed and has some kind of novelty can be the object of copyright. And the subject – that’s us, people. A person is born and he is already technically a subject of copyright. He could paint a picture and this is already an object of copyright. In school, he will create things and write papers, and these are also technically objects of copyright.

The unique thing about copyright law is that every day we encounter copyright objects: we listen to music, read books, and are located in buildings created by someone.

– How can you gain copyright?

– Formally, copyright is protected from the moment of the object’s creation. For example, electronic, written, drawn, or sculpted objects or notes. If we only have some idea in our head, it is not copyright protected.

There is the opinion that objects must be registered. There are even special organizations that offer services in registering copyright objects, but in fact, this can be done on a voluntary basis. The law does not require it. But many creators, trying to protect themselves, register their creations from fear of plagiarism by a third party.

For example, the Russian Authors’ Society registers objects. They have government accreditation in managing and defending copyright and offer object registration services.

– And what about scientific creations? Isn’t it required to register them?

– Inventions are objects of patent law. For example, if we are speaking about copyright, then the products of creative work – literature and art, they do not require registration. Inventions, as objects of patent law, as well as utility models and industrial prototypes are objects which are technically possible to replicate and require patenting. For example – no two people can draw the same exact picture, but several people can create the same object. Creations in physics and chemistry can have 2 or 3 authors. We still remember the creation of the radio and electricity, when they were invented simultaneously in various countries, but the patentee was the one who first registered it, received the patent, and went down in history as the true inventor. So it’s not enough to just invent something, you need to be able to know how to apply and patent your object.

Those who invent something but were not able to register it have certain preferences. The law of prior use is applied to him which says that he may use this technology in his own work without agreement from the patent owner.

As is well known, copyright is preserved throughout the author’s life and 70 years after his death. Objects of patent law are important for the technological development of society and so they have much shorter terms: 13,20,25 years, depending on the object. This is done so that society develops and has a chance to use certain developments freely and, using them, create something new.

– Do various awards or titles for the creation of new objects have any significance?

– The most important thing is receiving a patent since it shows the level of inventiveness and the application of the object. It gives the holder the right to using inventor’s benefits. In the soviet times, receiving the “Honored Inventor” pins was the highest achievement of a person’s intellectual development, and they were given promotions and priority queue vouchers. They created a magazine Young Technician for children and there were various circles of young inventors.

Returning to prizes, there is the Nobel Prize. It can be given for creations or literary works. In terms of chemistry,  the creation of substances and methods for receiving them makes it possible to receive the Nobel Prize.

– Is there any inventing happening at SUSU?

– SUSU holds the contest Step into the Future. There are many various categories within it tied to building and this is almost the only competition left. So our university is doing a lot for the development of innovation. In faculty lessons we deal with the techniques of protecting intellectual property rights, the use of objects, how to patent industrial prototypes, industrial know-how, and which technologies should be protected as trade secret and which should not. We figure out where patent law applies and where copyright applies. In the lectures, students are told what they can do with their knowledge in the technical sphere and how they can protect their creations.

– What is the role of this holiday in innovative work and does modern society need it?

– I think that this holiday is very necessary because in soviet times there were various events, fairs, and exhibitions of the achievements of the people and of industry. They attracted schoolchildren, who then set up fairs at their own schools.

Right now this holiday only exists as a day for respecting the rich soviet traditions which accumulated in the past, and one of the most important tasks of the government and technical centers today is, in my opinion, revitalizing this holiday, giving it a bright coat of paint, and attract society to invention!



Marina Kovyazina
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