Development of the Legal System
THE USSR frequently boasts that it is the first nation in the world to have introduced a comprehensive legal system for the protection of scientific discoveries. The obvious pride with which this assertion is made in Soviet literature conceals the fact that development of this system was more a historical accident than a product of legal evolution. It also overlooks the fact that because Of policy vacillation and bureaucratic uncertainty, Czechoslovakia adopted its legal regulations protecting discoveries nearly two years before the "Statute on Discoveries, Inventions and Rationalization Proposals" was enacted by the USSR Council of Ministers on April 24, 1959. As in the determination of priority in discovery, a major function of this legislation, truth claims are not always simple to verify.
Part of the Soviet claim is based on a Council of Ministers' resolution of March 14, 1947, to create a committee for state examination and registration of both inventions and discoveries.1 he resolution was aimed essentially at centralization of the process for registering and protecting inventions. The Soviet patent system had undergone numerous administrative revisions since its establishment in 1919. The previous major administrative change had been made in 1936, when responsibility for granting inventors' certificates and patents was transferred to various Peoples' Commissariats, with the Bureau of Inventions attached to GOSPLAN conducting expert review of the invention's novelty.2 This cumbersome procedure, involving the transmission of applications back and forth among several organizations, was deemed unnecessary and inefficient by government and party officials who, at the conclusion of World War II,