Western Foundations of Soviet Discovery Law
IN THE WEST, the theory that a scientist has a right to the object of his creative endeavors (or a scientific property right) was subsumed under the rubric of "intellectual property." Curiously, Soviet scholars and ideologues have raised few objections to the use of the term "Intellectual property," despite its rather obvious bourgeois connotation, perhaps because in modern usage it has become an "umbrella" term designating the objects of industrial property law (covering inventions, trademarks, industrial designs, etc.) and copyright law (literary works, musical and artistic works) which were already protected under Soviet law.
The term does carry some residual theoretical meaning, but it is rarely discussed by legal scholars today. Originally it implied that there was an underlying legal principle behind all conceptions that specific products of human thought and creativity involved property rights to be protected by law. The search for this unifying principle proved to be far too complex an undertaking, given the variety of historical experience in developing legal instruments for the protection of artistic and industrial property found in the Western nations. For the most part, attempts to formulate such a principle were abandoned by the time of World War I. Thus, while the term is widely used throughout the world, one would have to look long and hard to find any substantive expression of intellectual property law, per se, in any of the hundred nation-states that make up the World Intellectual Property Organization, of which the USSR is also a member. It may be that the vagueness of the term is its major attraction, for it can be used to refer to new or problematic areas of existing law while simultaneously referring to established areas.