REPUBLIC OF BELARUS

Chairman of Belgospatent
V.Kudashov

The national patent system for the protection of industrial property objects in the Republic of Belarus was established in 1992. The State Patent Committee of the Republic of Belarus (Belgospatent) performs an important official function of managing this system. The main directions of the Committee's work are legal protection of industrial property objects: inventions, utility models, industrial designs, trademarks and service marks, and other objects, as well as plant varieties; information support of domestic and foreign legal entities; implementation of policies on the license trade for scientific and technical achievements when industrial property objects enter the civil circulation; and international collaboration.

Belgospatent is under immediate command of the Government of the Republic of Belarus. The Committee employs 122 persons. Financing is done from the Republic's budget.

Since the establishment of Belgospatent the legislative and normative foundation of the national system of industrial property protection has been established The following laws have been developed and adopted: "On Patents for Inventions and Utility Models", "On Patents for Industrial Designs", "On Trade and Service Marks", "On Patents for Plant Varieties", and "On Legal Protection of Topographies for Integrated Circuits ". The laws "On Trade Names" and "On Legal Protection of Geographical Indications and Appellation of Origin" have been developed. The Patent Tribunal of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus has been established. The law "On Counteracting Monopolistic Activity and Enhancing Competition", several articles of which are concerned with unfair competition, has been adopted.

In order to protect rights to intellectual property, drafts of the following laws have been developed: "On Inserting Amendments to the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus", "On Inserting Amendments to the Administrative Code of the Republic of Belarus", and "On Inserting Amendments to the Custom Code of the Republic of Belarus", which contain provisions on criminal or administrative responsibility for violating the rights to industrial property, on the custom control procedure, etc.

Implementation of the entire complex of laws gives national and foreign applicants legal protection of industrial property objects or other scientific and technical achievements created, and enhances the export potential of Belarus and the attraction of progressive foreign technologies and investments to the Republic's economy.

Government decrees and normative or methodological materials developed by Belgospatent serve as the mechanism to assure the implementation of laws. "Statute of Service Subjects of Industrial Property" regulates legal relations related to the transfer of an invention or other object from the author to the employer, who has the legal right to this object. The interests of employed authors and employers are taken into account to the maximum extent by the Statute in the creation and use of industrial property objects.

"Statute of the Order and the Conditions of the State Promotion for Creating and Using Industrial Property Subjects" was approved by a Government Decree. The state system of stimulation provides for guaranteed rewards to authors and to persons assisting them in the creation and use of industrial property. The Statute holds the patent owner responsible for the delay in the payment of rewards.

Government Decrees "On the adoption of the Statute of Patent Duties and Fees" and "Statute of the Order of Valuation and Registration of Intellectual Property Subjects in Intangible Assets", prepared by Belgospatent, have been adopted.

"Methodical Recommendations for Valuation and Registration of Intellectual Property Subjects in Intangible Assets" and " Statute of the Order of Issuing Special Permits (Licenses) for Conducting Expert Work on Valuation of Intellectual Property Subjects in Intangible Assets " have been developed and adopted. The Standard of the Republic of Belarus "Assessment of Intellectual Property Subjects" has been accepted and put into effect. "Sample Statute of Patent Subdivisions of Ministries, Alliances Subordinate to the Government, and State Enterprises" has been developed for economic entities of the Republic of Belarus. The Republic of Belarus standard "Patent research: Examination Procedure" was developed and put into effect.

In addition, the rules of drawing up, filing, and processing of applications for industrial property objects, the rules of patent examination procedure, the rules of consideration and registration of license agreements and agreements on the assignment of rights, plus a number of normative and methodological materials required for the successful functioning of the national patent system, have been developed.

Analysis of legal protection of industrial property objects showed that in the period from 1993 to 1999 national and foreign applicants filed 8840 applications for inventions, of which 5487 were from national and 3353 from foreign applicants.

In 1993 - 1999 a total of 597 applications for industrial designs have been filed. 73 applications for utility models were filed in 1998 and 141 in 1999. In the 1993 - 1999 period 40199 applications for trademark registration were filed, of which 14271 were filed according to the national procedure and 25928 according to the Madrid Agreement procedure. 3373 patents for invention, 262 patents for industrial designs and 121 patents for utility model, plus 30023 trademarks, of which 21661 were processed according to the Madrid Agreement, are registered in the State Register.

91 applications for plant varieties were filed in 1996 - 1999, and 34 patents were granted.

378 license agreements and 347 assignment of rights agreements are registered in the State Register, of which 295 concern trademarks and 52 concern inventions (Appendix 1).

The greatest number of patent applications for inventions was received from individual inventors (27.9%), the Ministry of Education (27.6%) and the Ministry of Industry (21.1%). The National Academy of Science and the Ministry of Health (7.8% each), the Ministry of Agriculture and Food (5.3%), and the Ministry of Architecture and Construction (2.4%) follow. Analysis of the industrial branches of registered inventions shows that the greatest number of registered inventions by Belarus inventors belong to Section A of the International Patent Classification (Human necessities) - 23.9%, Section C (Chemistry; metallurgy) - 21.1%, Section B (Performing operations; transportation) - 20.3% , Section G (Physics) - 12.3%, and Section F (Mechanics) - 9.7%.

Of foreign applicants for Belarus patents, companies from Germany (7.1%), USA (4.0%), Russia and the Ukraine (1.6% each), Great Britain (1.3%), France (1.2%) and Italy (1.0%) showed the greatest activity.

In 1994 the Committee started publishing its quarterly "Official Bulletin" that contains information on applications for industrial property objects, on the titles of protection granted, and on the number of registrations, indexes, notifications, and official reports. Compilations of normative and methodological materials "Industrial Property", yearly "Catalogues of Scientific and Technical Developments and Inventions", journal "Intellectual Property in Belarus" are being published. The processing of applications for industrial property objects and the publishing of information materials are automated.

The automation system in Belgospatent is founded on the principles of a system-wide approach, stage-by-stage development, orientation towards modern technologies, and comprehensiveness in achieving its aims. At this time the system consists of several subsystems that interact via databases (DB) developed for each type of industrial property objects. Each subsystem includes several types of automated workstations (AWS), such as the AWS for DB data input operator, the examiners' AWS and others. All the processes, from the recording of the application's filing date in the DB, keeping correspondence with applicants, examination processing, publication of the official bulletin, to the printing of title of protection, are automated.

Local networks allow all the processes to use one database for each type of industrial property. Presently the following subsystems are available:

  • The Trademark Subsystem, the DB of which contains the bibliography, graphic images of trademarks (text, graphics, or combined), and lists of products or services. A search engine with an interface and options similar to that of the ROMARIN system allow the performance of examinations;
  • The Inventions Subsystem, the DB of which contains the bibliography, claims, descriptions, and drawings. The document processing functions for the examination of inventions, and a search engine for finding applications and patents in the DB according to the bibliography has been implemented. Three PIONEER-500 jukeboxes, with a capacity of 500 CD-ROM's each, have been acquired, installed, and put in service. Belgospatent has about 5000 CD-ROM's with patent information, thus automated access to these CD-ROM's is an issue. In conducting examinations international data banks are accessed via the INTERNET;
  • Subsystem of Utility Models with options similar to those in the Subsystem of Inventions. The task yet to be completed is to link this Subsystem with the Subsystem of Inventions;
  • Subsystem of Industrial Designs, the DB of which contains the bibliography and the photographs of declared designs. It also has a search engine;
  • Subsystem of Plant Varieties. This subsystem's DB contains directories of plant species, the bibliography, and the results of tests on plant varieties;
  • Subsystem of Official Bulletin Preparation. This subsystem uses the databases listed earlier, as well as templates with formats for bulletin sections, and forms the bulletin sections. The subsystem includes the AWS of the publication manager, who is responsible for content of the bulletin and its generating of information from the DB, and the AWS of the layout person, who are responsible for the bulletin's final design;
  • Subsystem of Printing Protective Documents, which uses the information from the DB on all types of industrial property to enter the required information into prepared forms of protective documents. One employee does all the printing of several thousand protective documents;
  • Subsystem of Fees Tracking and Calculating (presently at the implementation stage).

Most of the systems listed above have been used for 2 - 3 years. The subsystems were developed using the file-server architecture with database management systems (DBMS) FoxPro 2.6-5.0 and 6.0 in Windows 95 (98) or Windows NT. The development of the second version of the automation system has begun using the client-server architecture, which will have much better service characteristics. Microsoft SQL server is used as the main DBMS, while the client part is programmed using vFoxPro 6.0. The plan is to use the extensive capabilities of this powerful DBMS. In addition, Belgospatent's own building removes the main obstacle to automation, which was territorial separation of its subdivisions. Inventions' examinations using the WIPO program will be conducted with the use of high-speed INTERNET access channels that provides access to information resources.

On the international scene, Belgospatent closely collaborates with WIPO, the European Patent Office, the Eurasian Patent Office, and with the patent offices of 45 countries.

The Republic of Belarus is a member of WIPO, the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks, the Patent Cooperation Treaty, of the Nice, Locarno and Strasbourg Agreements on International Classifications, the Nairobi Treaty on the Protection of the Olympic Symbol, the Bern Convention for the Protection of Literature and Artistic Works, the WIPO Copyright Treaty, and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty.

In the nearest future Belarus plans to accede to the Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedure, to Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks, and to the Hague Agreement Concerning International Deposit of Industrial Designs.

After the disintegration of the USSR, the former Soviet Union countries found themselves in a crisis situation with regard to the protection of industrial property, the only solution being the creation of a new interstate system of such protection. The joint work of WIPO, EPO and the CIS countries resulted in the development of the Eurasian Patent Convention. The Republic of Belarus became the second state following Turkmenistan, which on May 8, 1995 presented the ratification document of the Convention. As a member of the Eurasian Patent Convention since August 12, 1995, the Republic of Belarus benefits, same as other member states, from all the advantages of the regional system of invention protection that permits serving the interests of national applicants to the fullest extent.

The Republic of Belarus is actively preparing to accession to the World Trade Organization. The Republic's legislation in the area of intellectual property (including industrial property, copyright and related rights) is being brought in line with the TRIPS requirements.

From 1993 the State Patent Committee started making an effort to integrate the patent system of the Republic of Belarus into the world patent system. For that purpose agreements between the governments and offices of several countries have been developed and adopted. On October 20, 1993 an Agreement was signed with the government of the Ukraine, and on July 20, 1994 an Agreement was signed with the Russian Federation government on the protection of industrial property. At the end of 1993 inter-office agreements were signed with the Republic of Armenia and with Bulgaria, with the Patent Offices of the Czech Republic and Poland in 1995, and with the Patent Office of France in 1997. Agreements on the exchange of patent documentation have been signed with the EPO, Austria, Canada, Macedonia, Netherlands, Japan, Greece, Mongolia, Estonia, Uzbekistan, and other countries.

The first international symposium on intellectual property protection, held in Minsk on June 21-22, 1995 - "Symposium for the heads of patent offices of the CIS counties on the issues of regional collaboration and patent protection" - was organized by the EPO and WIPO, with Belgospatent's participation. 11 states took part in the symposium; the representatives of WIPO, EPO, Great Britain, Holland, plus the heads of patent offices of the Russian Federation, Ukraine and Belarus read their reports.

In November 1997 in Minsk, Belgospatent, with the assistance of WIPO and Rospatent, organized a scientific and practical seminar "Legal protection and commercialization of intellectual (industrial) property".

On May 25-27 an international seminar "Economic significance of intellectual property" was held in Minsk by Belgospatent with the assistance of WIPO and EPO. Patent attorneys, representatives of patent offices, and members of scientific and business circles from Switzerland, Britain, Russia, the Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, the Kyrgyz Republic, and the Republic of Belarus took part in this seminar.

The regional seminar "Legal protection and civil circulation of industrial property" was held in December, 1999, in Minsk, with the participation of the representatives of the Eurasian Patent Office, who provided information concerning the advantages of EAPC for national applicants, the procedure of obtaining a Eurasian patent, and how to benefit from the rights implied by the Eurasian patent.

Belgospatent collaborated with the Association of Patent Attorneys by involving its members in the development of normative and methodological materials for the protection of industrial property, with the Belarus Association of Estimators and the Society for Rationalization and Invention by organizing joint seminars and conferences, and also by participating in international trade shows and fairs.

Every year since 1994 Belgospatent presents Belarus inventions at international trade shows and conventions, including the 22nd International Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva (1994), the 44th International Exhibition of Inventions and Innovations "Brussels Fair-95", the Universal Hanover Fair (1996 and 1997), the International Exhibition of Inventions and Innovations "GENIUS-96" in Budapest, and the 6th International Exhibition of Inventions and Innovations "East-West-Eurointellect-98" in Sofia (Bulgaria). The inventions presented at these exhibitions and fairs have received eight gold, three silver and five bronze medals, five diplomas, as well as special Grand-Prix prizes in Brussels and Budapest.

Staff training receives special attention. For that purpose the self-financing Training and Research Center of Industrial Property has been set up at Belgospatent.

Presently the Center works in the following main directions:

  • staff training in the area of intellectual property protection;
  • preparation of experts for the valuation and tracking of intellectual property objects within intangible assets;
  • protection of rights for industrial property objects as a service;
  • foreign-economic activity;
  • publishing and polygraphic activity;
  • fulfillment of Belgospatent's instructions.

Training activities include the following:

  1. A 1000-hour program of expert training, with the issuance of a state diploma in Jurisprudence, specialization "Legislative foundation of intellectual property", which issues the qualifications of a lawyer;
  2. Preparation of patent attorneys of the Republic of Belarus for their certification;
  3. Training of experts in the valuation of intellectual property objects among intangible assets (80 and 160-hour programs);
  4. Preparing and holding seminars and conferences.

The Center provides consulting services on the issues of patent and license activity to organizations, enterprises, or private individuals. For that purpose, branches of the Center have been established in each district capital. Various services are rendered, on a contractual basis, via these centers, e.g. preparation of applications for industrial property objects, verification of patent purity of developed objects , etc. Statute of services costs for creation and sale of industrial property objects has been adopted and a price list for the patent and information services developed. These Statute includes marketing activity for the creation and sale of industrial property objects, as well as information, consulting and document services of applicants related to the registration of industrial property objects, etc. Revenues received by the Center are directed to the development fund, are used as payments to those who fulfilled orders, or to compensate the expenses associated with the training of staff in the area of intellectual property protection.

The Innovations Data Bank (IDB), is an official branch of the international bank of licensed technologies 'Klenner International, Inc.' The IDB collects information on innovations and distributes it in the Republic of Belarus and abroad.

In addition, the Center performs publishing and printing, scientific and research work, participates in the formation of databases of industrial property objects, and distributes official publications.

The State Patent Committee's move to self-financing from fees and revenues, creation of conditions that allow putting industrial property objects into civil circulation and their wide use in the country's economy (tax benefits, risk insurance, crediting etc.), state support of patenting inventions and other developments abroad, development of the license trade, and the expansion of collaboration with patent offices of various states and international organizations all hold the promise of the development of the Belarus patent system.

Patenting of industrial property objects

Indicators 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 Total:
Patents for Inventions
Applications for inventions filed, total 1494 1688 1039 1059 1162 1209 1189 8840
of these:                
from national applicants 828 683 624 698 752 910 992 5487
from foreign applicants 666 1005 415 361 410 299 197 3353
RB Patents for inventions registered, total 237 405 633 409 483 656 550 3373
of these:                
to national applicatns 157 137 427 287 354 517 394 2273
to foreign applicants 80 268 206 122 129 139 156 1100
Patents for Utility Models
Applications for utility models filed, total - - - - - 73 141 214
of these:                
from national applicants - - - - - 70 134 204
from foreign applicants - - - - - 3 7 10
RB patents for utility model registered, total - - - - - 25 96 121
of these:                
to national applicants - - - - - 24 91 115
to foreign applicants - - - - - 1 5 6
Patents for Industrial Designs
Applications for industrial designs filed, total 62 56 66 93 126 106 88 597
of these:                
from national applicants 56 48 53 48 66 66 66 403
from foreign applicants 6 8 13 45 60 40 22 194
Industrial desings registered, total 4 11 47 78 25 56 41 262
of these:                
 to national applicants 4 5 37 53 18 38 21 176
 to foreign applicants - 6 10 25 7 18 20 86
Plant varieties
Applications for plant varieties filed, total - - - 49 30 3 9 91
of these:                
from national applicants - - - 48 30 3 8 89
from foreign applicants - - - 1 0 - 1 2
Plant varieties registered, total - - - - - - 34 34
of these:                
to national applicants - - - - - - 34 34
 to foreign applicants - - - - - - - -
Trademark registration
Applications for trademark registration filed, total 1724 2419 1809 2107 2262 2070 1880 14271
of these:                
from national applicants 729 1032 844 1068 1209 1173 1152 7207
 from foreign applicants 995 1387 965 1039 1053 897 728 7064
 according to the Madrid Agreement procedure 1984 3951 3933 3812 4309 4269 3670 25928

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