Establishment of the Eurasian Patent Organization
1990 - 1995
The history of the Eurasian patent landscape dates back to the early 1990's.
1990 went down in modern chronicles as a time of tough political confrontation inside the country, which soon broke up the USSR. This motivated public administration at different levels to get hard at work segregating authority between national and republican agencies. Notwithstanding the attempts, studious efforts were exerted to prevent the disintegration of the country throughout that year and the following six months. A new Treaty of Union was seen as a comprehensive and drastic solution to the political and economic problems of the period. In order to preserve the economic integrity, people at different levels of government proposed ideas to be captured in the draft Treaty of Union. Specifically, the USSR State Committee for Science and Technology and the USSR State Committee for Inventions and Discoveries filed their proposals with the USSR Council of Ministers in June 1990 for establishing a unitary patent service in the country.
The objective of those proposals was to preserve the system for the protection of industrial property that had taken decades to build in the USSR.
The USSR State Committee for Inventions and Discoveries drafted a treaty for establishing an interstate organization for the protection of industrial property to be vested with powers, inter alia, to grant interstate titles of protection.
Deputy Chairman of the USSR State Committee for Inventions and Discoveries V.I. Blinnikov was an ardent proponent of the initiative on the Russian side. In early October 1991, he presented to the Committee for the USSR National Economy Operations Management a comprehensive study of the goals, objectives, legal framework and mode of operations for a common patent system. The organization principles for a common patent system as a framework document were meant for an addendum to the economic union treaty.
9-10 October 1991: Moscow-based Working Meeting of representatives of the Republic of Belarus, Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic, Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, Republic of Tajikistan and the Ukraine viewed patent protection of inventions as a tangible component of economic integration as early as then. The meeting first formulated the organization principles for a common patent system, which in due course laid the groundwork for the Agreement on the Protection of Industrial Property. The meeting participants viewed an interstate patent office as a self-sustained, independent institution and the best value-added tool for administering patent protection.
Thus, the idea of having a patent office working for the benefit of the constituent republics had been voiced long before the actual basis emerged for translating words into reality.
The emerging common patent space had to make its way along with many government agencies undergoing organizational change, which affected inevitably the structure of patent management and slowed down the patent integration process. However, this did not discourage the public or the professional community - both kept up their incessant pace towards the goal.
October 1991: The initiators' strenuous work was well rewarded. A working group of experts examined in Moscow a draft agreement and framework governing the protection of industrial property at interstate level. The working group deemed it worthwhile to arrange a meeting of state-level plenipotentiaries viewed as a crucial point for establishing common patent space encompassing the territory of sates party to the Agreement. The meeting was held in Minsk, which later became home to the headquarters of the Commonwealth of the Independent States (CIS).
27 December 1991: Plenipotentiaries of the Republic of Armenia, Republic of Belarus, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, Republic of Tajikistan and the Ukraine reviewed an Agreement on Interstate Science and Technology Cooperation and a Provisional Agreement on the Protection of Industrial Property. At that point, however, cooperation for the protection of industrial property had to remain confined to the bilateral agreements between the national patent offices.
Building common patent space was seemingly not a priority in a time of globally important search for economic cooperation between countries in a new political landscape. However, this particular avenue of cooperation proved the most viable one.
August 1992: The professional community proposed ways to establish an interstate system for legal protection and drafted Statutes of the Interstate Council. Effectively, this move launched the development of an interstate patent convention. Relevant documents were forwarded to the Chairman of the Russian Government on behalf of the CIS Council of Heads of State and the CIS Council of Heads of Government.
November 1992: Moscow’s conference of patent offices representatives to explore prospects of bi- and multilateral cooperation for the protection of industrial property proved a landmark for the integration. Notably, eleven CIS countries had established patent offices at home by then. The Ukraine acceded to the Paris Convention, PCT and Madrid Agreement second to the Russian Federation. The other countries were on the way to accession. The conference supported and drafted an agreement on the protection of industrial property.
Thus, a year past the 1991 meeting in Minsk, the new draft agreement confirmed the principles and organizational approach set forth in the Provisional Agreement on the Protection of Industrial Property.
1993: The zealous and difficult preparation of the Agreement for signature was rewarded with a landslide. Moscow, 12 March 1993: The Agreement on the Protection of Industrial Property and the Establishment of the Interstate Council for the Protection of Industrial Property was duly signed at government level by eight countries, i.e. the Republic of Armenia, Republic of Belarus, Republic of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, Republic of Tajikistan and Ukraine. In keeping with the new instrument, the governments of the states party to the Agreement appointed shorty their plenipotentiaries and deputies to represent the country members in the Interstate Council.
A month later, April 1993, the Azerbaijan Republic acceded to the Agreement, which actually cleared the way to draft a Eurasian Patent Convention.
The governments of the Agreement member states instructed the Interstate Council to draft their concept statements for establishing a common interstate system for protecting industrial property in advance of concluding an Open-Ended Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, and table those concept statements for discussion at an ordinary meeting of the CIS Heads of Government. The Agreement vested the Interstate Council with powers to turn to the World Intellectual Property Organization and other international organizations for an expert analysis of the Convention and relevant by-laws.
The first meeting of the Interstate Council took place in Moscow 18-19 May 1993 drawing official participation from the Republic of Armenia, Republic of Belarus, Republic of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Republic of Moldova, Republic of Tajikistan, Russian Federation and Ukraine. Also, partaking in the event as observers were delegations from the Azerbaijan Republic, Turkmenistan as well as WIPO Director General Arpad Bogsch, WIPO officers V.E. Trusov and J. Bobrovsky and German Patent Office President Dr. E. Hausser.
The participation of WIPO Director General Arpad Bogsch in the May meeting of the Interstate Council was a milestone. A personality of international standing and a luminary in patent law, Dr. Bogsch was the ideologist of the Eurasian patent space since the early days.
Ukraine plenipotentiary V.L. Petrov was elected Chairman of the Interstate Council, with Republic of Kazakhstan plenipotentiary T.E. Kaudyrov becoming his deputy. Also, the meeting instituted the Interstate Bureau for the Protection of Industrial Property, with V.I. Blinnikov elected its President and vested with powers to manage the Interstate Working Group of Experts missioned to draft the Convention. The Working Group encompassed R.T. Altchimbayeva (Republic of Kazakhstan), V.V. Belov (Russian Federation), Y.L. Bobchyonok (Republic of Belarus), A.N. Grigoriev (Russian Federation), I.Y. Danilyuk (Republic of Moldova), V.À. Zharov (Ukraine), E.À. Nagapetyan (Republic of Armenia), À.T. Tokoyev (Kyrgyz Republic) and I.G. Takhirov (Republic of Tajikistan), since July 1993.
1994 was the period of meticulous drafting of the Convention and managing the logistics for the Eurasian Patent Organization to emerge under the Convention. The Interstate Council had designated the location for the headquarters of the Organization as early as May 1993. However, a host of the logistic problems of Organization operations could only be addressed now that the prospects for Convention signature could not be challenged. The third meeting of the Interstate Council put the final touches to the language of the Convention in Geneva, 14-17 February 1994, based on the rapport between the plenipotentiaries of the eight states and observers from the Azerbaijan Republic, Republic of Georgia and Republic of Uzbekistan.
The meeting passed the draft Convention and lodged it with WIPO Director General Arpad Bogsch as the depositary for the future Convention. Also, the delegates passed the draft Memorandum. The process entered a new stage where a number of points had to be brought into accord for Convention signature. In keeping with the Memorandum, WIPO Director General Arpad Bogsch forwarded the text of the Convention to the CIS Executive Secretary for submittal to the CIS Council of Heads of State to review and sign.
In March 1994, V.I. Blinnikov officially requested the CIS Coordination and Advisory Committee that Convention signature be included in the agenda for one of the nearest meetings of the CIS Council of Heads of Government. The Preparatory Programme for the Eurasian Patent Convention Entry into Force and the Rules of Procedure for the first extraordinary meeting of the Eurasian Patent Organisation’s Administrative Council had already been in place as a result of teamwork with WIPO.
The Eurasian Patent Convention was officially signed in Moscow on 9 September 1994 at the meeting of the CIS Council of Heads of Government. The top signatories were the premiers of the Azerbaijan Republic, Republic of Armenia, Republic of Belarus, Republic of Georgia, Republic of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, Republic of Tajikistan and Ukraine.
The fourth meeting of the Interstate Council discussed in Kiev a week later the roadmap for implementing the Convention. The Minutes instructed the Interstate Bureau for the Protection of Industrial Property to develop and submit to the patent office leaders for review draft implementing regulations to the Convention. Representatives of WIPO and the European Patent Office advised of having in place a programme of assisting the future Eurasian Patent Office and the national patent offices of the states party to the Convention, which made the European Patent Office thenceforth a reliable partner and assistant to the emerging regional structure and national patent offices.
Intense preparations began for the Convention to enter into force and the Eurasian Patent Organization to emerge as an established entity.
1995: The Convention could enter into force in respect of at least three states to ratify it in parliament or accede to it.
Turkmenistan was the first to accede to the Convention by depositing its instrument of accession on 1 March 1995. Two months later, the Republic of Belarus deposited its instrument of ratification (8 May), with the Republic of Tajikistan following suit shortly thereafter (12 May).
Article 26(4) says, the Convention shall enter into force, in respect of the first three States to ratify it or accede to it, three months after the third instrument of ratification or accession has been deposited with the Director General of WIPO. In conformity with this arrangement, the Convention entered into force on 12 August 1995.
The Russian Federation came next to ratify the Convention when the country's President signed the Law on the Ratification of the Eurasian Patent Convention on 1 June 1995. Thus, the Convention entered into force in respect of the Russian Federation as the fourth state party to it.
Countries continued to ratify and accede to the Convention, which, in fact, called for no less effort from the national patent offices than in Russia. The efforts of the professionals and society were not always brought to fruition. For example, the stance of the Ukraine’s State Committee for Patents and Trademarks was mute. Resultantly, the Ukraine has never ratified the Convention signed earlier.
The Eurasian Patent Convention entered into force in respect of the Republic of Kazakhstan on 5 November 1995; Azerbaijan Republic, 25 December 1995; Kyrgyz Republic, 13 January 1996; Republic of Moldova, 16 February 1996; Republic of Armenia, 27 February 1996.
Preparations for the practical implementation of the Convention had begun long before the states completed their ratification and accession. EAPO needed first priority regulations, a cleverly designed structure, good location for the Office and financial mechanisms to run corporate operations in the transition period.
The preparatory work was completed successfully within minimal time as had been designated. The team built a common understanding of the objectives and drew upon the invariable assistance from the national patent offices, which by far ensured high efficiency of the exercise. The core team of EAPO professionals had taken shape by then.
The appointment of plenipotentiaries of the member states kicked off EAPO's practical operations. Towards the end of 1995, the Governments of the States party to the Convention appointed their plenipotentiaries and deputies to the EAPO Administrative Council, i.e. V.P. Rassokhin and A.D. Korchaghin for the Russian Federation, V.I. Kudashov and P.V. Zelyony for the Republic of Belarus, R.A. Agabayev and G.G. Gurbanov for Turkmenistan, I.G. Takhirov for the Republic of Tajikistan, R.O. Omorov and A.T. Tokoyev for the Kyrgyz Republic, T.E. Kaudyrov and R.T. Altchimbayeva for the Republic of Kazakhstan, E.M. Stashkov and I.Y. Danilyuk for the Republic of Moldova. In early 1996, S.L. Kantarjian and A.S. Khachikyan were appointed to represent the Republic of Armenia.
The plenipotentiary for the Russian Federation was instructed to submit a nomination to the Administrative Council for ROSPATENT Executive Deputy Chairman V.I. Blinnikov to be appointed EAPO President. The sixth meeting of the Interstate Council approved unanimously the nomination in Baku, 7-8 September.
The first extraordinary meeting of the Administrative Council proved a significant event in EAPO's history as it took place on 2 October 1995 in Geneva where many participants of the meeting had paved the way for the Convention a year and a half earlier.
Appointed earlier, the plenipotentiaries of the Republic of Belarus, Russian Federation, Republic of Tajikistan and Turkmenistan had also at the meeting observers from the Republic of Armenia, Azerbaijan Republic, Republic of Georgia, Republic of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Republic of Moldova, Ukraine, Turkey, Vietnam, Mongolia and WIPO International Bureau.
Chairing the first extraordinary meeting of the Administrative Council was Plenipotentiary R.A. Agabayev representing the first state to accede to the Convention.
The Meeting appointed V.I. Blinnikov EAPO President with effect from 2 October 1995. Subject to the Provisional Rules of Procedure of the Administrative Council, the EAPO President was to draft EAPO operational regulations for the first ordinary meeting.
With the spirited support from the WIPO International Bureau, the ROSPATENT Interstate Relations Department completed drafting core regulations for implementing the Convention. Readied towards November 1995, the drafts included the Patent Regulations, EAPO Statute of Fees, Financial Regulations, Administrative Instructions, Rules of Procedure of the Administrative Council and Statute of Eurasian Patent Attorneys. The Interstate Working Group of Experts examined the documents and recommended them - at the meeting on 29 November 1995 - for approval by the Administrative Council.
Also, the Interstate Working Group of Experts completed the draft Agreement on the Eurasian Patent Organization Headquarters. A rapport on the document proved particularly difficult to achieve. The team took pains reconciling multiple propositions and remarks from ministries and agencies. Having a decision on the Headquarters from the Russian federal authorities took additional time and effort.
The Administrative Council held its second, or first ordinary, meeting on 30 November – 1 December 1995 in Moscow where the plenipotentiaries of as many as five states this time - including the Republic of Kazakhstan - passed the regulations for implementing the Convention and gave the EAPO President the right of choice to recruit officers to do relevant preparatory work. 1 January 1996 was announced the start-off date for filing Eurasian applications.
Those decisions were tantamount to the launch of the Eurasian Patent Office operations. V.I. Blinnikov commenced his duties as President of the Eurasian Patent Office on 4 October 1995 The last quarter of 1995 completed virtually the 'pre-history' of the Eurasian Patent Office.
A new regional patent system emerged for the Eurasian states. EAPO and its patent office entered their formative period.
Eurasian Patent Organization
1996 – 2005
The Eurasian Patent Organization started off in early 1996, even though having to take some time removing an array of logistic impediments to its vital functions. The Eurasian Patent Organization could not possibly operate in a sustainable and effective manner as an official entity without proper office space and relevant infrastructure provided to it.
The Eurasian Patent Convention envisaged the Russian Government's signature under the Agreement on the Eurasian Patent Organization Headquarters deemed as a condition for Russia to honour its commitments to the Organization for ensuring the administration of its functions. The development of that consequential document began under the auspices of the Interstate Council for Legal Protection of Intellectual Property as early as 1994. But it took years of strenuous work to put it into force.
A.N. Grigoriev led a team of ROSPATENT Interstate Relations Department professionals drafting the document. The draft captured relevant provisions from similar documents signed by the Russian Federation Government as well as the experience of the European Patent Organization, closest to EAPO in terms of work scope.
The core provisions of the Agreement are based on the Eurasian Patent Convention, which, upon ratification, became part of the Russian Federation legal system. Article 2 of the Convention defines EAPO as an intergovernmental organization headquartered at Moscow, Russian Federation. It goes on to say that the Organization, the plenipotentiary representatives of the Contracting States and their deputies, the staff of the Eurasian Office and other persons engaged in carrying out the tasks of the Organization shall enjoy in the territory of every Contracting State the rights, privileges and immunities granted by such Contracting States to any other international organization and its staff; and in the territory of the Russian Federation it shall also be regulated by a special headquarters agreement of the Organization concluded between the Organization and the Government of the Russian Federation.
EAPO deemed it worthwhile not to wait for Agreement signature or ratification. Rather, it got heavily involved in selecting and leasing office space, which neither the Organization, nor the Office could function properly without.
Office space of 562 metres square was finally allotted to the Eurasian Patent Organization at 2/6, Maly Cherkassky Pereulok, Moscow, early in 1996.
The documents for Agreement signature were forwarded to the Russian Government in February 1996. The EAPO Administrative Council confirmed at its third meeting in Alma-Ata, June 1996, the credentials of V.I. Blinnikov as Eurasian Patent Office President to sign the Agreement.
Signed in Moscow, 4 October 1996, the Agreement was presented for ratification in January 1997 based on the Constitution of the Russian Federation and the Federal Law on the International Agreements of the Russian Federation.
The headquarters agreement entered into force on 15 April upon signature of the Law on the Agreement Ratification by the President of Russia on 11 April 1998.
A year and a half years' worth of waiting for the document now gone, the Eurasian Office began recruiting staff from the national patent offices. Rigorous selection of management and staff is crucial particularly for international organizations. As early as their second meeting in Moscow, November 1995, the plenipotentiaries had defined the baseline approach to appointing leaders to Eurasian Patent Organization bodies whereby the parity of regional representation was to be observed in such bodies for the Organization member states. In keeping with the approach, T.E. Kaudyrov of the Republic of Kazakhstan was elected Chairman of the Administrative Council (AC) for the initial two-year term. The sixth meeting of the Administrative Council held in Moscow two years later, honoured his performance as Council leader in a most crucial formative period for EAPO. Plenipotentiary V.I. Kudashov for the Republic of Belarus succeeded him as Council Chairman for the following two years. Plenipotentiary for the Kyrgyz Republic R.O. Omorov was the successive Chairman elected by the Administrative Council at its eighth meeting in Cholpon-Ata, 1999.
|T.E. Kaudyrov||V.I. Kudashov||R.O. Omorov|
Allocation of functions between the vice presidents and the appointment of the sector’s brightest to those top positions are crucial to the success of a regional patent organization running its complex and diversified operations.
|H.F. Fayazov, V.I. Blinnikov, A.N. Grigoriev|
Under Article 3(3) (iv) of the Convention, the EAPO President appoints Vice Presidents as advised by the Administrative Council. A.N. Grigoriev of the Russian Federation was appointed to oversee the early-day operations of the Eurasian Office in such core areas as examination of applications, patent registration and grants, payment of fees, registration of patent attorneys and coordination of patent examination with national patent offices. Noteworthy, A.N. Grigoriev held the position continuously to the day of his election as President of the Eurasian Patent Office on 9 February 2004.
The third meeting of the Administrative Council appointed the Republic of Tajikistan's H.F. Fayazov Vice President of EAPO in 1996. He commenced his tenure of office by building a concept for an IT system to run the core processes at EAPO.
In fact, within a mere three or four years, IT supported official publications, databases, databanks, implementation and maintenance of automated and telecommunication systems as well as coordinated patent information operations with national patent offices.
Corporate identity and emblem as its core component are crucial to the profile of an organization, let alone an international entity. This explains the focus the emblem received at EAPO. The National Centre for Patents and Information (NCPI) of the Republic of Tajikistan demonstrated dedication and creativity in designing an emblem for the Eurasian Patent Organization.
Then leading the NCPI Department of Automated Processing of Patents, G.D. Koupaye developed more than a hundred versions of the EAPO emblem of which twenty-seven the Patent Office of Tajikistan submitted for competition.
Three images from the Republic of Tajikistan qualified in the course of the second meeting of the EAPO Administrative Council in Moscow, 30 November – 1 December 1995. Now, they had to be examined as to identity and similarity to the marks protected in the territory of the Russian Federation in conformity with the Paris Convention, i.e. Article 6ter: Marks: Prohibitions concerning State Emblems, Official Hallmarks, and Emblems of Intergovernmental Organizations. Two versions complied with the regulations for the protected marks, according to a ROSPATENT opinion.
The third meeting of the Administrative Council (Alma-Ata, June 1996) selected and approved the image that became EAPO's emblem for being expressive, laconic and consonant with the Organization's mission.
Article 6ter of the Paris Convention sets forth a procedure whereby lists of emblems of states and intergovernmental organizations are to be communicated to the Convention member countries through the intermediary of the WIPO International Bureau. In late July 1996, V.I. Blinnikov forwarded the emblem to WIPO Director General Arpad Bogsch requesting that the emblem of the Organization be put under protection in keeping with the Paris Convention.
The Eurasian Patent Organization emblem is well known to the global patent community, inventors and patent information users.
The EAPO Administrative Council held twelve ordinary and five extraordinary meetings in ten years of the Eurasian Patent Organization operations.
The meetings took place at the WIPO headquarters in Geneva, EAPO headquarters in Moscow and in the EAPO member states. Sharing such meetings with the EAPO plenipotentiaries and their deputies were representatives of WIPO, European Patent Office (EPO), Eurasian Patent Office, delegations from the Ukraine, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Vietnam and Mongolia.
|J. Bobrovsky and V.E. Trousov|
WIPO International Bureau officers V.E. Trousov and J. Bobrovsky working under WIPO Director General Arpad Bogsch and EPO specialists R. Young, M. Robinson, U. Schatz and N. Formby of the European Patent Office led by EPO Director General I. Kober assisted significantly EAPO Administrative Council operations and decisions.
The early years of EAPO saw the formation of a pool of EAPO AC participants and a relevant collaborative mechanism, which facilitated efficient resolutions to complicated issues in the start-off and subsequent formative period of the Organization.
In the course of the decade, the Administrative Council managed to:
Resolve pivotal economic, legal, information and human capital management issues for the Organization and its Office, which ensured their sustained formation and development;
Consolidate the position of a new regional patent organization in the global arena;
Complete the groundwork for improving further the Eurasian patent system performance for the benefit of the regional countries and global community at large.
In place as early as 1995, a reliable legal framework has governed the operations of the Eurasian Patent Organization since its Day One. It is crucially important that the core regulatory enactments approved by the EAPO AC on 1 December 1995 have not turned into a dogma over the years.
Continuous KPI analyses and search for optimisation solutions are typical of successful organizations. This attributes fully to the Eurasian Patent Organization. Lessons learnt from the practical implementation of the basic regulations have motivated a revision of out-dated clauses.
Thus, the Administrative Regulations to the Eurasian Patent Convention were revised twice in three years. The instrument was first changed, with new language added to it, in a year's time at the fourth meeting of the Administrative Council on 23-24 January 1997. The seventh meeting approved further amendments to it on 1-2 December 1998.
Also, the Administrative Council amended and added new language to its Rules of Procedure at the fourth meeting as well as revised the Patent Regulations and the Statute of Fees at its sixth meeting. The Eurasian Patent Office President approved amendments to the Statute of Eurasian Patent Attorneys in March 1997.
The purpose for the amendments and addenda differed. Specifically, changes to the Patent Regulations refined individual provisions and procedures for examining Eurasian applications. Resultantly, the Patent Regulations streamlined the interaction of the Eurasian Office with the national patent offices of the EAPC member states and patent attorneys as well as made the legal framework of the Eurasian patent system more understandable to the broad community of applicants.
The Eurasian regulatory framework improvements are ample proof of a creative approach to resolving critical tasks that the Eurasian Organization was facing in its dynamic formative stage. Short timeframes between spotting and resolving problems were evidential of the professional team's capability to continuously improve the versatile performance of their international patent organization.
Professionals from patent offices of the Convention member states are heavily involved in improving the Eurasian regulatory framework and drafting legal instruments for Administrative Council meetings.
In 1997, the states party to the Convention fixed the amount of fees levied for maintaining the validity of the Eurasian patents in the territory of each Contracting State thereby completing the Eurasian patent system.
Since 1998, patent owners designate states where they are interested to extend the validity of their patents and pay annual fees to the Eurasian Office for maintaining such patents in force. Article 18 of the Convention says, ‘one-fifth of the fee received for each designation of a Contracting State shall belong to the Organization; the remaining part of the fee shall be transferred to the national Office of the designated Contracting State.’
In fact, the annual fee collections have fuelled additionally the development of the national patent offices in the region.
Regional patent organizations depend on their financial capability for staying viable much more than national offices. The Convention provides accordingly that the Organization ‘shall be self-supporting in that its expenses shall be covered from fees and other income earned by it. No Contracting State shall be obliged to pay contributions to the Organization.’
The Organization revenues levelled off towards 1998. In fact, core revenue items in the corporate budget showed soaring trend numbers for specific areas of the Office activity in the early years. The unitary procedural fee was initially in the lead. Substantive examination fees took over later. Eventually, fees for granting and keeping the Eurasian patents in force began generating sustainable revenues from 1998 onwards.
The Convention sets forth that the Organization shall not engage in entrepreneurship or generate profit, i.e. any excess of income over its expenditure shall be used for development purposes. The principle has been translated into reality. Not only did EAPO manage to run its core operation on a self-sustained basis in a short space of time, but it also stepped forward to support patent offices of the EAPO member states in line with the goals and objectives of the Organization.
Its healthy performance soon enabled the Organization to focus on developing its economic and social base for achieving its substantive operation targets. The Office governance structure and staff had to be up to the challenge.
The Office had sixteen staff members in early 1996.
Fairly soon, the Office could afford decisions to grant or refuse a Eurasian patent taken by boards, each consisting of three examiners holding passports of different states party to the Convention.
The Eurasian Patent Office (EAPO) experienced powerful growth in 1996–1997 and needed inevitable structural change. Its staff numbers soared. Rule 10 of the Administrative Instructions required that the officers should have (a) references from their national patent offices, (b) relevant skills, (c) practical record of legal protection of industrial property, (d) administerial ability and (e) passable knowledge of Russian.
In late 1997, the Office had forty people on staff. Twenty-nine of them held university degrees, nine had doctorates and Candidate of Sciences degrees and four staff were university students. Only service and technical staff members were from an inferior educational background.
The Office finalised its structure towards the end of 1998. High professional level of the staff was the main achievement and guarantee for the young patent office to stay viable.
1998 saw the approval of the Regulations for Filling of Eurasian Patent Office Vacancies on a Competitive Basis. Contestants from four Contracting States competed the same year. The contract winners included D.R. Miridjanian and R.A. Salman from the Republic of Armenia and K.D. Sargazakov from the Kyrgyz Republic.
In late 1998, the Office had sixty-three staff including representatives of the Russian Federation, Republic of Armenia, Republic of Tajikistan, Republic of Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan Republic, Kyrgyz Republic and Turkmenistan. All the staff - save for service and technical personnel - held university degrees including eleven officers holding doctorates or Candidate of Sciences degrees.
With originally well-trained staff on board, Office Management could continuously run career development programmes, which became a priority area of operations for the Office.
Examiners were enrolled in a specialised training programme based on the European Patent Office experience. Practically all the examiners had a traineeship at EPO. Seasoned professionals took due care of newly joined examiners.
Professional development of staff in national patent offices of the EAPC member states became a focus early on. Under a decision of the Administrative Council, the Office launched in 1998 traineeship programmes individually tailored to meet the specific needs of national patent offices. Enacted in March 1998, relevant regulations governed the traineeship process and logistics.
Upon successfully resolving organizational, legal, finance and human capital issues in the early days, the Office managed to fairly quickly focus on its core operations, i.e. filing and examining applications. A pool of examiners - as the principal motive force behind the process and sufficient for the moment - was in place for the job.
Organizationally, the owner of the process was the Examination Department incorporating divisions for formal examination, mechanics, physics, electrical technology, chemistry and medicine. EAPO Vice President A.N. Grigoriev directed the Department. Taking over in March 1998 was V.B. Talyansky, a high-profile specialist in patent examination methodology.
The Office had a little more than 120 filings in its first year of operations. In 1997, however, total filings tripled, increasing by an order of magnitude a year later, 1998. More than 80 per cent of applications were filed under the PCT in the initial four years. By and large, this reflects a quick response to the establishment of a new regional patent system. In fact, half the amount of applications filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization from the second year onwards had Eurasian patent designations.
Applications from the Contracting States were scarce in the early years, with the majority, or ca. 80 per cent, coming from Russian Federation applicants.
The Eurasian Office operates in a specific environment under the Eurasian patent law, which governs examination and has incorporated trail-blazing trends and experience of the European Office and other national patent offices of mature economies. The Eurasian patent law has captured provisions of the European Convention and patent law of mature economies governing applications, filing, examination and grants.
At the same time, the Eurasian patent law captures the best practice of patent protection developed in the USSR, Russian Federation and the other Contracting States.
Substantive examination of a few applications was carried out as early as 1996, whereas 1997 saw the first Eurasian patent grants. Eurasian Patent Office President V.I. Blinnikov presented Patent no. 1 on 29 April 1997 to Vladimir Ivanovich Ramzaitov, patent owner and Russian Federation national, for the invented Device for Turbulent Milling of a Material. The inventors' names: Vladimir Ivanovich Ramzaitov and Alexandr Nikolaevich Fateev.
In the second year of Eurasian patent grants, 1998, their total increased tenfold. The patents granted in 1999 doubled vs. the previous year's figure.
The growth rate of Eurasian patents registered and granted by the Eurasian Office sustained throughout the corporate formative period.
6,850 Eurasian patents were registered in the Eurasian Patent Register between 1996 and 2005. The number of states whose applicants seek Eurasian patent protection grows year on year. Subjects of 81 states became Eurasian patent owners in the period under review.
The largest amount of Eurasian patent grants went to applicants from the Russian Federation, Republic of Belarus and Republic of Kazakhstan from among the EAPC member states in the period under review. Overall, patents granted to applicants from the Contracting States totalled more than 12 per cent between 1996 and 2005.
In the same period, 5,733 Eurasian patents were granted to applicants from non-EAPC member states. The most active applicants represented the United States of America, Germany, France, Netherlands and Great Britain. Overall, patents granted between 1996 and 2005 to applicants from non-Convention member states totalled ca. 88 per cent.
The Eurasian Patent Office had a successful record of examination practice in its formative period showing trends, room for improvement and areas of potential growth. An up-to-date database and automated workflow management for applications and patents proved the immediate priorities.
The level of automation of corporate operations became a KPI for international organizations as early as the mid-1990s.
|Dataware Department, 1996
Automation of a new regional patent office - a large-scale project in its own right – called for a clear concept, costing out of individual tasks, verified priorities and a holistic approach. EAPO Vice President Kh.F. Fayazov proposed such a concept whereby automation was approached innovatively and viewed as an individual area of corporate operations. The concept focused on five areas of IT penetration where relevant IT departments were expected to evolve later.
The IT Department was the first one to emerge in 1996 to be later re-named the Dataware Department and directed by S.A. Eminov representing Turkmenistan.
The key tasks of IT penetration had to be consonant with the core objectives of the Office operations, such as the examination of applications, release of publications, patent search, grant of Eurasian patents and controlled maintenance of their validity - all to be run on an IT platform.
The findings from a bumper in-house analysis enabled the Eurasian Patent Office to develop general guidelines for automation and, thereby, clearly define the scope and content of work for the structural units for years ahead. Also, the automation concept envisaged, for the early stage, a programme of immediate goals to evolve along with the Office development.
The programme included internal projects, such as the reduction of costs and the improvement of quality of published applications and patents. In fact, publication completes the process cycle of the statutory operations of the Office.
EAPO's programme of long-term goals included corporate participation in international projects for generating additional services to achieve better operation comfort.
The automation approaches had to capture the specific nature of the regional patent organization. Stringent requirements had to be met for the structure and hardware to process the existent large volumes of Office information in an environment where the processes to be automated were fairly regular and the patent information content was structured to an established pattern.
An opportunity to launch operations from scratch based on cutting-edge technologies was a big advantage for a holistic approach to building a high-profile organization in the sector. Such an approach was not accidental. The Office leaders were committed to high standards in the sector right from the start. This approach incorporated personal academic and practical experience of Management and leading experts, rather than just findings from in-depth analyses of global trends.
With the chartered strategy in place, the Eurasian Patent Office began the implementation. Inter alia, EAPO had to:
Build an IT system to manage the workflow for processing Eurasian applications and Eurasian patent grants;
Build an EAPO patent collection. Noteworthy, the task gained further momentum in 2005 as part of the Eurasian Office electronic archive initiative;
Make official publications. Worth mentioning here is that the Office began publishing Eurasian patent descriptions on optical discs in 1999;
Establish and maintain a Eurasian web portal, i.e. web sites for the Eurasian and national patent offices of the states party to the EAPC;
Provide information about Eurasian patent documents via Internet. Search for and access to information on the legal status of titles of protection became possible owing to the free access EAPO provided to the Eurasian Patent Register;
Build a Eurasian patent information environment based on the development of a Eurasian Patent Information System (EAPATIS);
Share joint patent information projects, e.g. ESPACENET (European Patent Office) and CISPATENT (patent information product of the CIS countries released on optical discs);
Build and maintain the Office IT infrastructure.
Automation projects were well under way for all core processes and operation workflows within the Eurasian Office as well as for its interaction with Eurasian patent system users and for international cooperation in science and technology. All these are ample proof of the scale and scope of tasks the Organization had to address and manage in its formative stage.
The Eurasian Patent Organization viewed the establishment, maintenance and promotion of its multi- and bilateral cooperation among its principal tasks and functions.
Upon finding its place within the mature system of international cooperation promoting legal protection of industrial property, the Eurasian Patent Organization focused on consolidating its image as an intergovernmental organization and a secure tool of multilateral diplomacy complementing bilateral relations between countries.
The first decade saw the establishment of a solid financial and organizational base for cooperation under the Eurasian Patent Convention. Recommendations, requests and initiatives of the national patent offices of the EAPC member states were honoured. The decade was also a time of promoting cooperation within the Organization and with national patent offices of states that were not party to EAPO as well as with diverse status international organizations operating at multiple levels.
In developing its plans, the Organization took advantage of an international approach to seeking global solutions.
In the decade under review, the Eurasian Patent Organization, as an international operator, managed overall to:
Facilitate the establishment and development of the national patent offices in the Eurasian countries;
Raise the demand for the Eurasian patent system services;
Assist the national patent offices of the EAPC member states.
In the initial ten years of its operations, EAPO concluded international treaties, agreements, protocols and/or programmes to add momentum to the Organization's multi- and bilateral international relations. Totalling 31 towards the end of the decade, those instruments fall into the four categories as follows:
(1) Treaties, agreements, protocols and other instruments of general nature for close mutually beneficial relations with international intergovernmental and non-government organizations as well as national patent offices;
(2) Treaties, agreements, protocols and other instruments to provide patent information services for better quality of EAPO examination of inventions, for building patent and patent-related information collections and databases in EAPO and the national patent offices of the EAPC member states as well as for developing search tools and new information products;
(3) Treaties, agreements, protocols and other instruments for promoting IT cooperation and computer-aided operations;
(4) Treaties, agreements, protocols and arrangements for personnel training.
Sixty-five different level official delegations, bringing 242 people, visited EAPO's headquarters in Moscow between 1996 and 2005, which is quite a KPI of the Organization's international performance.
In the decade under review, the Eurasian Patent Organization consolidated and kept up its cooperation with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), European Patent Organization (EPO), Intergovernmental Counsel for the Protection of Industrial Property, International Association for the Protection of Industrial Property (AIPPI) and African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO).
WIPO provided invariable and diversified assistance at all stages of the Eurasian Patent Convention development and EAPO formation.
On 1 October 1997, EAPO and WIPO concluded an agreement, which expanded the scope of technology, information and advisory support for the Eurasian Office and raised awareness of the role and performance of the Eurasian Patent Organization.
WIPO and EAPO conferred regularly exploring an array of subjects. Thus, WIPO Director General Kamil Idris visited the EAPO headquarters in February 1999 to know more about the regional corporate performance. Resultantly, he attached high value to the process quality of EAPO's operations, its infrastructure, equipment and capacity. In 2000, Deputy Director General Shozo Uemura led another WIPO visit to the Eurasian Patent Office to see how the Eurasian interest was accommodated in WIPO's regional IT programmes.
Cooperation with the European Patent Office was a powerful driver for the Eurasian Patent Office development in its first decade of operations. Also, EPO played a major role in training EAPO personnel beside contributing substantially to EAPO technological capability, providing access to patent and patent-related information, assisting data collections, regional projects and programmes.
From 1996 onwards, EPO financed seminars, traineeship as well as professional and language training for EAPO staff on a regular basis.
EPO's official delegations led by the Presidents of the EPO paid three visits to EAPO in the first decade, i.e. Dr Ingo Kober in 1998 and 2001, Professor Alain Pompidou, PhD, in 2004. Also, EPO's Richard Young, Director of International Technical Cooperation, Nina Formby, project leader for CIS and Mongolia, Mark Robinson, Common Software project leader, had regular working contact and teamwork with EAPO. All these are ample proof of the importance EPO attached to this specific area of cooperation.
The Eurasian Patent Organization suffered a grievous loss with the passing of Victor Ivanovitch Blinnikov, EAPO’s first President, in November 2003. Read more about this outstanding scholar, bright leader and prominent international authority on the protection of industrial property in a special chapter of this section.
The fifteenth, or fifth extraordinary, meeting of the EAPO Administrative Council chaired by I.G. Takhirov, AC Chairman and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Tajikistan, took place in Moscow, February 2004. Topping the agenda was the election of the Eurasian Patent Office President. The meeting drew participation of the plenipotentiaries from all the EAPC member states, as well as representatives of the World Intellectual Property Organization and the European Patent Office.
The EAPO Administrative Council appointed unanimously Alexander Nikolayevitch Grigoriev as EAPO President for a six-year term in keeping Article 3 (3) (iii) of the Eurasian Patent Convention.
The EAPO AC decisions of 2004 were geared to promote and consolidate the young regional patent organization in the global arena, improve the performance of the Eurasian patent system for the benefit of the regional states and global community at large.
Specifically, under some of its milestone decisions the EAPO AC instituted:
A gold medal named after V.I. Blinnikov, ‘For Promoting Invention and Patent Practice’, in honour of the first EAPO President and (2) an annual award named after V.I. Blinnikov to honour post graduates of the Russian State Institute of Intellectual Property for the best thesis of the year;
Eurasian Patent Organization Development Programme for 2004-2009 as the pioneering long-term initiative defining the main growth areas for EAPO in the five years to come.
Major accomplishments have a motive force behind them. More often than not, it is a team of persevering, like-minded talents, each doing their lofty bit to translate a dream into reality.
Furthermore, a true accomplishment has a soul to it - not just a person who puts forth an idea, but a talent with creative gusto. A complex implementation almost stands no chance without an indefatigable person who can see the task through. Victor Ivanovitch Blinnikov, EAPO' first President, was just the kind of man who came up with the idea of patent integration to translate it into reality in post-Soviet space in his lifetime.
The profile of a professional, scientist and leader is inseparable from the person's life-long cause. He fought his way through what is now called the “reckless 1990s” accomplishing the formidable task with the least personal interest. Such examples are particularly relevant today. His associates considered Victor Ivanovitch Blinnikov a super successful person, even though short-lived and despite his modest needs and plain lifestyle.
Established at the turning point of history, the Eurasian patent system was a most challenging project to complete. An obvious challenge was to conclude an agreement of such a scale with countries 'just separated' - a move historically unparalleled. Having to co-manage a basically new task with multiple variables, often unknown, calls for a leadership personality to begin with.
People commonly known to become leaders at a critical stage of history have to be creators in the first place. Their typical virtues would be perseverance, independent thinking, insight and aptitude. Failure or success cannot break or spoil such people; flattery cannot make them swagger. They are very sociable, able to manage large teams, convince others and heed arguments.
As a leader, Victor Ivanovitch Blinnikov never threw his weight around when dealing with others. People from different walks of life considered him an engaging and amiable person with a sharp wit. He was easy to approach and deal with, whatever the circumstances - a rare description of a manager his level.
The different sides to his personality were largely responsible for his life journey. In 1968, with his post-graduate degree from the Moscow Institute of Consumer Industry Technology, he joined the Consumer Industry Department of the All-Union Scientific Research Institute for State Patent Examination (VNIIGPE). His colleagues noted his degree of expertise and level of managerial skills right from the start. Fairly soon, he scaled up the ladder of success to become the department deputy head, department head, deputy chairman of the Supervisory Council for Science and Technology Examination and VNIIGPE deputy director for science.
Aged thirty-eight years in 1979, Victor Ivanovitch Blinnikov was appointed Chairman of VNIIGPE ranking among the world’s largest institutes for patent examination, with its complex mechanism, more than 2,000 employees and hundreds of thousands of applications to manage. Patent office leaders of that age were rare in the world at that time. While at the helm of VNIIGPE, Victor Ivanovitch Blinnikov obtained a degree from the Institute of National Economy Management under the Academy of USSR National Economy.
It was a productive period for Victor Ivanovitch Blinnikov as a scientist. He built a team of specialists to improve the inventive practice based on system analysis and achieved a new level of performance; he had a whole series of industry publications and ended up having a doctorate in system analysis. Clearly enough, today's IT range of tasks and capability would have been unthinkable thirty years ago. Little has survived the intervening time from the patent office 'paperless technology' vision originated in his day. However, the scientific hands-on experiences, insight into the potential role of such practice and its invariable appeal have had an impact on the operations of the Eurasian Patent Office today.
His academic interest broadened to include areas where he would soon succeed greatly. He received his professorship and was elected academician to the International Academy of Engineering and the Engineering Academy of Russia. In 1990, Victor Ivanovitch Blinnikov was transferred to the USSR State Committee for Inventions and Discoveries to take office first as deputy chairman and later as executive deputy chairman of the Committee. The USSR law of May 31, 1991 governing inventions in the Soviet Union was a difficult bill to draft and become law - quite a formidable task to complete for the professional community at that stage. Even though clearly short-lived, the law laid the basis for the Patent Law of the Russian Federation of September 23, 1992.
Victor Ivanovitch Blinnikov used all his priceless experience as a civil servant, manager and scientist for establishing EAPO and its patent office. His practical investment in this cannot be overstated.
The Eurasian Patent Office reflects his high reputation. He set an example of professionalism, openness and stamina to his colleagues, friends and followers. He had a zest for people around him. In return, they would show respect and warm feelings. He was a true power battery for others and a source of enthusiasm difficult to replicate. He had a burning sense of duty. His colleagues couldn’t help feeling the same.
A.N. Grigoriev: Victor Ivanovitch Blinnikov was an exceptionally charismatic wise man. In fact, my experience of an encounter with him put me on my life's journey. We met in 1969 when I was an examiner freelancing for the Consumer Industry Department of the All-Union Scientific Research Institute for State Patent Examination (VNIIGPE), with Victor Ivanovitch Blinnikov as Deputy Head of the Department. Two years later, Victor Ivanovitch Blinnikov offered me a full-time position at VNIIGPE.
To this day, legal protection of industry property objects has been my professional career. For me, Victor Ivanovitch Blinnikov has always been a strong example of professional commitment and respect for people.
It was this inherent approach to people that enabled him to build a team of like-minded professionals around him and translate into reality the vision of a Eurasian patent system.
Openness, benevolence, high professionalism, scrupulous honesty and integrity remain the standards he set for us to work to.
S.B. Yerofeeva: I seem to be among very few officers of former VNIIGPE who remember Victor Ivanovitch Blinninkov since the 1970s when he freelanced and later worked full-time as an examiner for the Consumer Industry Department. We spent a long time working together for the Institute and then for EAPO. We all retain clear memories of his brilliant skills as an examiner and a long-time leader steering VNIIGPE and EAPO.
But my focus now is his brilliant personality. While very kind-hearted and fair-minded, Victor Ivanovitch Blinnikov was an exactor. He was a good judge of character; he knew his team well and helped them always.
At some point, we attended a patent seminar in Tallinn together. It was there and then that I first saw him outside work. All the VNIIGPE attendants of the seminar spent leisure time together in a cafe or a swimming pool where Victor Ivanovitch Blinnikov was always the life of the party.
You could always bring your problems to him, whether personal or work, and he never fell short of helping you.
Later, when working for EAPO, we used to go for barbecues arranged at his or somebody else's countryside allotment. I retain fondest memories of those days. We played volleyball and football, gathered firewood and barbecued ... Invariably in a good mood, he would never hesitate to laugh or tell jokes. He was fond of his country house on the bank of the Moskva River. He invested time and bumper effort in his countryside allotment where his wife, Tatiana Nikolayevna, made a beautiful orchard. What a pity he fell short of fully basking in all that beauty… Gravely ill, he never showed it up; he would rather say he was doing well and having a ball.
Victor Ivanovitch Blinnikov has been dead for eleven years now. We remember him as a brilliant and luminous person with a big heart and a lot of charm. We are fortunate to have met him and been his colleagues for so many years!
O.G. Kvasenkova: Victor Ivanovitch Blinnikov was a remarkable person and a rare case where a leader is a role model and a senior colleague, in the first place, rather than just a superior. He demonstrated exceptional commitment to the cause. He loved life and people - those he had known for years and new joiners alike.
I have a few memories to share.
The first EAPO enrolment of only 35 people takes us back to 1996. Owing to Victor Ivanovitch Blinnikov, we felt we were part of a big close-knit family.
He kept in mind our birthdays and would always bring flowers.
He criticised us when appropriate, but would always nip in to show he was no longer feeling bitter.
Nothing special, it seems. But this was exactly how our job became our second home. And it's not an overstatement.
F.A. Kireeva, A.I. Kountcho: In his quest for a Eurasian patent system, Victor Ivanovitch Blinnikov spared no investment - his erudition, vast knowledge, experience, stamina or heart.
His authentic signature on the first Eurasian patents granted to their owners was not accidental, in spite of insistent advice from the Register Department that a letters patent should bear a facsimile signature. His live signature on a letters patent that culminated the effort of the entire Eurasian Patent Office was a deeply personal matter for Victor Ivanovitch Blinnikov because he put his heart into what he was signing. He would bring the letters patents personally to the Register Department, with his authentic signature affixed to them. At moments like this, he was looking pleased and smiling like a gourmet after a tasty meal.
Victor Ivanovitch Blinnikov signed 3,785 Eurasian patents, the last one on August 28, 2003. He passed away on October 17, 2003.
M.V. Panteleev: I first saw Victor Ivanovitch Blinnikov in a competition between universities. He was playing volleyball for his team of the Moscow Institute of Consumer Industry Technology. The line-up of the team boasted several players bearing the title of Master of Sport and sub-master sportsmen. I was impressed by his commitment, team spirit and responsibility for each ball served.
Victor Ivanovitch Blinnikov was a dedicated sportsman. This dedication explains his resolution in managing large teams of people and his ability to heed the needs of others.
O.Yu. Svetlov: Dedicated to Victor Ivanovitch Blinnikov, first President of EAPO
You are a victor forever.
Should we think it to be the supreme blessing?
The answer is obvious to all - it is.
Order and comfort reign beneath your flying colours.
Leading the way for all and rolling with the punches,
Preserving the profile, money and our nerves …
Thank you for all these, thank you for this blessing.
You are a victor forever. You are the foremost!
H.F. Fayazov: Victor Ivanovitch Blinnikov... He had an array of qualities of a great leader and a great man. Careful, considerate and responsive attitude to people - these are the foremost traits of his character that come to mind. He was like a father to the staff members who left their relatives behind in their home countries. He spread warmth to all who knew him.
He was exceptionally considerate. If he knew his decision might dent your ego, he would never push it through. Rather, he would guide you to a point where you took that decision yourself. I had never seen that outstanding quality before in anyone. It took him time and effort.
I saw him managing dramatic situations too. His horse dashed off at a terrific speed in a Kyrgyzstan racecourse unseating the rider who landed on his back. I saw it with my own eyes and thought to myself we had lost the president. However, I saw him a couple of days later back in Moscow, he looked quite fit. He called a general meeting and said, “I fell off a horse and I want you to know the details to avoid rumours”. And he told the Office the whole story first-hand. We were taken to a racecourse in Turkmenistan a few months later where he decided to ride a thoroughbred Akhal-Teke horse, without giving a second thought to it. Someone else would have never mounted a horse again. But he was always consistent with his name Victor. I took a picture of him then and used the image for a portrait, which we presented to Victor Ivanovitch Blinnikov at his 60th jubilee.
He invited my family to his country house at some point. We brought with us our three-year old Nodirbek, our younger son. But we lost our way and came forty minutes late. At the pinnacle of his career, this great man had kept waiting for us at the gate all that long. Such a generous approach wins the hearts forever. While we sat enjoying ourselves in the porch, our son played with his toy lorry and made a heap of sand blocking the whole passage. Upon noticing it, I took a shovel and began removing the sand back. He stopped me and said, “Stay out, let the boy play, I'll shovel it off myself.”
Many things at home and in the office bring back memories of Victor Ivanovitch Blinnikov. On another occasion, for example, he showed me his saplings and said, “Plant them in your orchard. ” Now I have a big cherry tree - another memory of him.
They don't indulge in words in the Orient thanking someone who helped them at some point. They simply say, “I ate your bread.”
He is no longer among us. But I wish I could say to him, “I ate your bread...”
Victor Ivanovitch Blinnikov crossed the veil on October 17, 2003 in his sixty-third year of age. Today’s young generation of the Eurasian Patent Office came after his time. However, his personality and life journey set a good example to the young colleagues who are and yet to become part of our professional community.
Eurasian Patent Organization
2006 - 2014
The Eurasian Patent Organization brought effective practical experience into its second decade of successful operations. Safe on its way to better performance and higher growth, the Eurasian patent system had built value that needed no further proof.
It was a time of successful momentum the office was gaining under A.N. Grigoriev's leadership. Appointed president in February 2004, he was one of the originators of the Eurasian patent system. The period saw significant growth of Eurasian patent application filings, rewarding improvement in quality of the Eurasian patent grants and impressive achievements in IT solution implementations.
In its formative period, the Organization gained recognition from patent users and IP professionals as well as developed relevant legal instruments, technical facilities and a body of skilled professionals to propel the patent office operations.
Pioneering by nature and targeting new objectives, the EAPO Development Programme for 2004-2009 laid the basis for EAPO continued long-term growth.
An analysis of the Programme performance and the Organization objectives put the Administrative Council of the Eurasian Patent Organization in a position in its twenty-second, or sixteenth ordinary, meeting of November 10-12, 2009 to decide the Eurasian Patent Organization needed a new development programme to be drawn up for 2010-2014.
The objectives of the two EAPO programmes:
• Improve the procedures for filing and examining Eurasian applications and granting Eurasian patents;
• Improve the system for compiling and distributing patent information;
• Consolidate the physical infrastructure and processes of the Eurasian Patent Office operations;
• Promote international cooperation;
• Improve human capital management.
The EAPO development objectives are traditional for today's patent organizations. The success of an international patent organization depends largely on the quality of its rulemaking, organisation of its core process-driven operations as well as the effectiveness of cooperation at the international, regional and national levels. However, the users' actual reliance on the patent system has always been the key performance indicator for any patent office. In fact, growing interest to the Eurasian patent proved to be the main deliverable for EAPO in its new stage.
In 2006 - 2014, Eurasian applications filed annually grew sustainably in number, i.e. from 2,293 to 3,572. Overall, the Eurasian Patent Office had 28,687 Eurasian application filings, or 71 per cent of all the applications filed with it over the period. EAPO has more applications in electronic form, which, in fact, accounted for more than two-thirds of all the filings in 2014.
As at 01.01.2015, subjects of 114 states draw upon EAPO services. The top ten nations most actively using the Eurasian patent system include the United States of America, Germany, Russia, France, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Japan, Belarus and Belgium. The Eurasian patents received in 2014 by patent owners in states party to the EAPC total ca. 20 per cent.
In the second decade, EAPO had to address finance challenges at the global level and manage its on-site needs for revamping the Office space. This large-scale operation spanned five years, i.e. 2004 - 2008. EAPO is headquartered in a federal heritage-listed building. Designed for the Moscow Merchants’ Society and built in 1909–1911 by a renowned architect, Fyodor Schechtel, the house is widely regarded as a milestone in the so-called Rationalist Art Nouveau trend in commercial architectural design. Furthermore, it bears a touch of the future Constructivism and Formalism. Headquartered inside there since the establishment, EAPO beneficially owns the premises occupied by it.
The revamping of the building incurred cost and also called for sound organization and discipline of labour. In fact, EAPO had to move offices twice, without suspending, however, its day-to-day operations.
Active implementation of the EAPO development programmes coincided with trail-blazing solutions to a host of technology, software, hardware and methodology problems. Coupled with declining prices for computer technology and telecommunications, this made the most projects affordable.
2008 saw the first electronic filings of Eurasian applications as a result of an ADEPT implementation - a system for electronic filing and exchange, which also helped EAPO build a depositary of Eurasian applications filed via that system. Furthermore, half the amount of Eurasian applications that came to EAPO in 2011 had been filed electronically, which is ample proof of a successful implementation.
The electronic filing and exchange improvement initiative continued. That same year saw a new system implementation, EAPO-ONLINE, which had a test run first and went live in 2012 as the backbone tool for electronic filing of Eurasian applications running on a state-of-the-art hardware and software platform, relying on latest infrastructure and providing more functions and services than ADEPT. As soon as 2013, an EAPO-ONLINE prototype system was developed for filing Eurasian applications via the national offices based on the model project for electronic filing of Eurasian applications via the national offices of the EAPC member states.
Paperless office within the Eurasian patent practice relies on an automated system of electronic folders for Eurasian applications and patents that went live in 2010, which enabled the transition to complete paperless processing of applications and their electronic transfer for publication in 2013.
Publication of EAPO patent documents and official editions underwent fundamental change. 2007 saw the transition to the electronic EAPO Bulletin on optical discs based on an EAPO IT solution for electronic bulletins. EAPO IT professionals engineered a Eurasian publication server in 2010 for online publishing of patent information and Eurasian patent documents. The Eurasian Publication Server has been EAPO's official web-based media outlet since 2014.
In 2011, EAPO set up an electronic services portal targeting patent attorneys. But its appeal proved to be much broader. This resource enables applicants or their representatives to use the Internet for filing applications for the grant of patents, calculating the fees and making instructions for debiting the imprest account for the amounts due. The portal is expected to become later a one-stop access point for various users seeking to tap the EAPO in-house information resources.
An upgraded version of EAPATIS went live and boosted significantly the advancement of the Eurasian patent information system, which stores documents of international organizations, regional and national patent offices. Total documents uploaded in EAPATIS exceed 55 million. More than 3.5 million user requests from 12 countries have been granted in the last five years.
High quality services are impossible to provide electronically without fail-safe network infrastructure. The building, development and maintenance of the common network infrastructure became a separate area of corporate operations in 2011 to support EAPO’s examination work and day-to-day operations. Towards 2015, the Eurasian Patent Office had fully failure-proof infrastructure running on cutting-edge IT solutions and meeting global standards in continuity of corporate operations and access safety, which is particularly relevant in an electronic workflow environment.
In recent ten years, new tasks have been added to the traditional IT scope of work for the patent offices, which until then had been confined to information system and technology management and development, transition to electronic workflow management for applications and patents, publication of patent documents and official editions, data exchange, building and developing patent information space. EAPO had to keep up to date with global trends and have an information security management system. An information security framework was approved for EAPO in 2009. The implementation began in 2010.
The final product of the IT project enabled EAPO to:
• Improve the efficiency of examination of Eurasian applications at all relevant stages of processing;
• Improve the quality and efficiency of patent information published and issued, which resulted in monthly publications of the EAPO Bulletin and weekly information updates in the Eurasian Patent Register database;
• Build electronic search collections of information accessed on a standard basis; provide a search system for EAPO patent documents, national patent documentation of the EAPC member states and patent documentation of the PCT minimum;
• Broaden the range of information products and services available to the national patent offices of the states party to the EAPC, patent attorneys, inventors, applicants and patent owners.
Stronger cooperation with the EAPC member states and national patent offices of foreign countries, closer interaction with international organizations to promote the IP cause, use of foreign partners' best practice for better corporate performance and showcasing the advantages of the Eurasian patent system have invariably been among the overriding objectives for the Eurasian Patent Office international cooperation.
The EAPO international cooperation objectives gained further momentum in the second decade, while staying conceptually the same.
Invariably viewed as a strong priority for the EAPO international operations, cooperation with the EAPC member states in multiple forms was a natural and substantive component of the corporate Development Programmes for 2004-2009 and 2010-2014. This cooperation built value practically across the board in the past years improving joint performance under the traditional formats and developing new ones.
The cooperation with national patent offices focused initially on three main areas, i.e. (a) assistance in local personnel training and professional development, (b) technical support and IT teamwork, (c) IP professional development of staff in the EAPC member states and showcasing the Eurasian patent system.
The decade under review added substantial momentum to the professional development of staff in the national patent offices under the initiative launched in 1999-2000. Tailored to the needs of an individual national office, EAPO-financed training was provided to staff at the Russian State Academy of Intellectual Property (RGAIS) where people were enrolled in various programmes for career and professional development as well as for having their first or second university degree or post-graduate education.
Top-drawer training was added to the above format in 2012 for IT professionals now having an opportunity to attend specialised courses at large Moscow-based centres recognised internationally, with training run annually and customised to the specific needs of national patent offices.
Initially provided by the Eurasian Patent Office under individual programmes, the training evolved into a fortnight-long traineeship run for national patent office staff twice a year since 2010, i.e. one for patent examiners and the other for IT specialists. Financed by the Organization, Office-based training is run nowadays for three professionals from each national patent office every year. Seeking to build more information value for the trainees, the Eurasian Patent Office turned to its international cooperation partners and enlisted support from WIPO and EPO whose experts now act as trainers on subjects consistent with the overall thematic scope of training. Aggregately, 697 specialists from national patent offices have had career development training in various formats since the launch of relevant EAPO traineeship programmes.
Regional conferences and seminars financed annually by the Eurasian Patent Organization have had annual training seminars added to them in recent decade as held on a bilateral basis by Eurasian Patent Office specialists in team with national patent offices, training institutions and specialized organizations of the EAPC member states. In the last five years alone, such events took place in the Azerbaijan Republic, Republic of Belarus, Kyrgyz Republic, Republic of Kazakhstan, Republic of Tajikistan and regions of the Russian Federation. Presentations by EAPO professionals at such conferences and seminars in the EAPC member states not only bring value to IP specialists' professional development, but also showcase the Eurasian patent system.
IT support and cooperation as a component of EAPO's second decade operations followed the official policy of the Office for this area of activity whereby the Eurasian Office is expected to develop itself and facilitate the development of national offices, with a focus on projects difficult for an individual office to implement on a stand-alone basis.
This policy pervades all the EAPO IT interaction with national patent offices.
Originated as a project for them as early as 1999, access for the national patent offices to the Internet follows nowadays the basic principle formulated in 2010 by the seventh meeting of the Permanent Working Group for Information Technologies and endorsed by the twenty-third meeting of the EAPO Administrative Council whereby the capability of local providers must be used to the best advantage, with all possible flexibility, so that the national offices have high-speed access to the Internet via dedicated lines, while balancing the interests of all the parties involved and working to budget allocated for the purpose by the Organization.
Accessed officially free of charge by the national patent offices of the EAPC member states, EAPATIS has broadened the examiners' search capability for doing their job. In the past five years, more than 800,000 examiners of national patent offices used the search system. Patent examiners in Kazakhstan, Belarus and Russia proved the most active users of EAPATIS.
The Eurasian Patent Office entered a new CISPATENT implementation stage in 2009 since the commencement of the regional patent information project in 2001. As resolved by the twentieth EAPO AC meeting, the Eurasian Patent Office uses the Organization budget from the aforementioned date onwards to accommodate the CISPATENT disc costs in relation to the national patent offices of the Contracting States where these are party to the project.
The transfer of EAPO-designed technology to national patent offices began in the decade under review. Thus, the national offices of the Azerbaijan Republic, Republic of Belarus, Kyrgyz Republic, Republic of Kazakhstan and Republic of Tajikistan benefited from the EAPO live IT solutions - adapted and implemented at their end - for compiling, publishing and releasing on optical discs a bulletin on industrial property objects. The patent office of the Azerbaijan Republic now has the advantage of a collection of national patent documents for upload in EAPATIS as a result of relevant technical assistance accorded to it.
Also, the decade saw another dimension added to the vibrant cooperation whereby the assisted consolidation of the national patent offices capability evolved into the equitable contribution to the innovation-driven development of national economies.
Broad access to patent information resources for designers and engineers of new technology is commonly known to be an important tool for the innovation quest. Accordingly, EAPO provided free access to EAPATIS for search purposes to public libraries, universities, science and technology innovation centres of the states party to the EAPC. The pioneering agreement governing such access was signed with the Republic of Belarus on September 9, 2011. Fairly soon, in 2013, the agreements signed by then enabled in principle all the states party to the Eurasian Patent Convention to give designers and engineers of new technology free access to the Organization's wealth of information resources. Ultimately, 107 organizations and centres for science and technology in the states party to the EAPC were granted access to EAPATIS towards 2015.
A Gold Medal named after V.I. Blinnikov awarded ‘For Promoting Invention and Patent Practice’ has became a memorable tradition since its establishment in 2004.
In act, the Gold Medal is awarded annually under EAPO AC decisions to recognize the commitment of relevant inventors, professionals and organizations to the IP cause, inventive practice, legal protection of inventions in the EAPC member states as well as EAPO establishment, formation and advancement.
In the lead-up to its twentieth jubilee, the Organization takes pride in having awarded the V.I. Blinnikov Gold Medal to 65 representatives of the EAPC member states since 2005.
Also, the Eurasian Patent Office promoted its cooperation with international organizations and foreign patent offices.
As an important and reliable partner to the Eurasian Patent Office facilitating its international cooperation, the World Intellectual Property Organization invariably supported and assisted the Eurasian Patent Organization in the formative period and facilitated the development of the Eurasian Patent Convention at all stages in various ways. Furthermore, the WIPO Director General is the depositary of the Eurasian Patent Convention.
An international conference called ’Worldwide Patent System: Current State and Trends for Future Development’ was held in September 2006 as part of EAPO's ten-year jubilee celebrations. The honorary guests and speakers included WIPO Deputy Directors General Dr Francis Gurry and Geoffrey Yu. At the Conference EAPO President A.N. Grigoriev was presented a WIPO Gold Medal to recognise his commitment to the establishment and development of the Eurasian patent system.
EAPO officers work for WIPO's six Standing Committees and Working Groups, while EAPO delegations attend meetings of the WIPO governing bodies as observers.
Cooperation between EAPO and WIPO in managing regional conferences and seminars gained further momentum in 2010 upon signature of the Memorandum of Understanding Between the Eurasian Patent Organization and the World Intellectual Property Organization in the Area of Patent Information and Dissemination of Patent Documents and the Cooperative Work Programme in Relation to the Patent Cooperation Treaty between EAPO and the WIPO International Bureau. The first Work Plan for 2011/2012 to implement the aforementioned Programme was approved at the same point in time. Those documents provided a framework for further cooperation between EAPO and the International Bureau including the exchange of guidelines for the use of information technologies by the offices in bilateral relations and WIPO-assisted programmes for EAPO staff professional development.
WIPO allocates high-skilled instructors to coach specialists from national offices under EAPO traineeship programmes and invites EAPO instructors to WIPO conferences and seminars held worldwide.
It is a comfort to know that the significance of EAPO/WIPO partnership in promoting the regional IP system is recognised not only in the EAPO development programmes but also honoured regularly in WIPO's biennial programmes and budget.
The European Patent Office is traditionally among EAPO's top-tier partners whose contribution to EAPO information technology projects and Eurasian examiners' professional development in the formative period for the Office cannot be overstated. In recent ten years, the two offices sustained their value-added cooperation relying on the memoranda of understanding governing the EAPO/EPO relations in 2008-2012 and relevant work plans developed thereunder.
EPO provided advisory and methodology support for EAPO in the course of Soprano and ePhoenix implementations on an EPTOS-Toolbox platform, which played the key role in the transition to automated workflow management for processing applications.
The EPOQUENET agreement validates the EAPO examiners' access to the European Patent Office professional search system for examination purposes.
EAPO joined forces with ROSPATENT to share the EPO project for developing Machine Translation tools. The Russian/English segment of the initiative was officially launched in September 2013 in the presence of the leaders of the three offices driving the project.
EAPO provides EPO patent documentation for the EPO database, information on the legal status of Eurasian patents and frontfile information for the international database of the MCD classification.
EAPO specialists benefit from regular EAPO training sessions for national patent office specialists where EPO instructors make presentations and run workshops under the programme of the European Patent Academy, EPO.
EAPO maintains regular contact with the African regional intergovernmental organizations -- African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) and African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI) -- as set forth in the Memorandum of Understanding of 2000 and the Framework Agreement of 2007, accordingly.
Cooperation with foreign patent offices is well under way in many areas and formats. These include, for example, joint conferences, seminars and other international events, EAPATIS user assistance as well as continued contacts with patent offices for further exchange of information and experience. In recent ten years, memoranda and agreements on cooperation were signed with the patent offices of Mexico, People's Republic of China, Republic of Korea and Czech Republic.
There is constant contact with Uzbekistan and the Ukraine as states not party to the EAPC in post-Soviet space. Special agreements govern access to the EAPATIS information search system for patent examiners of those countries.
Accession to the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) proved a new area of international cooperation for EAPO. EAPO President A. Grigoriev and JPO Commissioner Hiroyuki Fukano signed a joint statement of intent between the Eurasian Patent Office and the Japan Patent Office (JPO) on cooperation under the Patent Prosecution Highway. The pilot PPH Programme for the two Offices started off on February 15, 2013.
EAPO and JPO cooperate also under a programme -- in effect since 2013 -- for the exchange of examiners. The first three rounds of meetings and joint projects involving patent examiners from the two offices demonstrated value that EAPO brings to the Examiners Exchange Programme as an international format for the exchange of experience. Furthermore, the results of examination of Eurasian patent applications proved the high quality the EAPO patent examiners deliver.
In the decade under review, EAPO continued showcasing the Eurasian patent system using a diversity of formats, such as conferences, seminars and forums worldwide, Russian and foreign specialised publications for regular coverage of EAPO performance, meetings and negotiations with the business community and professional organizations. In fact, eighty foreign delegations visited EAPO in the period under review.
The Republic of Moldova withdrew from the Eurasian Patent Convention on April 26, 2012 as a result of changing the political course of the nation. However, and despite the Eurasian Patent Organization membership shrinking to eight states, there is an agreement in place between the Eurasian Patent Organization and the Government of the Republic of Moldova, which governs legal protection of inventions in the territory of the Republic of Moldova past the Eurasian Patent Convention denunciation by the Republic of Moldova. With this in mind and desirous of further cooperation for protecting inventions as well as being generally interested in upholding respect for the rights and legitimate interests of the applicants and holders of Eurasian patents, the Republic of Moldova recognizes the validity in its territory of (a) the Eurasian patents granted before the effective date of the Eurasian Patent Convention denunciation and (b) the Eurasian patents granted under the Eurasian applications filed before the denunciation date. Such patents are recognized as staying in force until the expiration date or until other valid reasons have occurred for their legal termination. In conformity with aforementioned agreement, EAPO keeps managing its administrative tasks for maintaining the validity of the Eurasian patents in respect of the Republic of Moldova.
Professional cooperation between EAPO and the State Agency for Intellectual Property of the Republic of Moldova (AGEPI) was not curtailed. At the instigation of AGEPI, an interagency agreement was signed between EAPO and AGEPI in August 2012 to govern information and experience exchange, access to information resources and EAPO methodology guidance for AGEPI.
The EAPO structure has not changed dramatically over the years, but streamlined for better performance.
The Eurasian Office found itself having to recruit additional staff to address growing appeal of the Eurasian patent to applicants, manage the resultant growth of Eurasian application filings as well as IT implementations gaining momentum between 2006 and 2012. The headcount of industry teams in the Examination Department and Department for Patent Information and Automation grew one-third in that period.
It is not an overstatement to say those people are the true asset to the Office. Hence, they need focus and a careful approach. This explains the importance invariably attached to career development as a driver to sustained and motivated growth. The EAPO record is heavy with proof of the young talents' career advancement from rank-and-file to structural leadership positions.
As a process essential to the Eurasian Patent Organization, professional training and development of staff of the Eurasian Office and national patent offices remain among the priority areas subject to continuous improvement.
The advancement of cooperation with the Eurasian patent attorneys also supports the continuous quest for better quality of EAPO service accorded to the Eurasian patent system users. Annual sessions held at the EAPO headquarters, which coincide with the World Intellectual Property Day, have become a good tradition. These sessions draw participation from candidates for Eurasian patent attorneys and representatives of editorial boards of Russian IP periodicals in addition to EAPO officers and Eurasian patent attorneys from various regions of the Russian Federation and other EAPC member states who attend such sessions. Patent attorneys exchange opinions about their joint action and are duly briefed on all the changes in the Eurasian patent law as well as on new technology opportunities for cooperation with EAPO. All these promote cooperation between interested parties and improve the overall performance of the regional system for IP protection.
Sustained growth of total Eurasian patent attorneys -- almost doubled in recent ten years -- as well as total countries they represent, testify to the applicants' great interest in the Eurasian patent system.
Representing all the EAPC member states, the body of Eurasian patent attorneys totals 342 professionals at the end of EAPO's second decade of operations.
Twenty is the prime of life, which finds EAPO in full vigour and ready to use its abundant knowledge, experience and capability for accomplishing the corporate goals.
The Eurasian Patent Organization is entering its third decade of operations.
Eurasian Patent Office team looks to the future with confidence.