The Statutes on Discoveries
THE ADOPTION of the new constitution of the USSR by the Supreme Soviet on October 7, 1977, stimulated an increased awareness of the role of law in the Soviet Union. Although it may be some time before the full impact of the "basic law" is understood, it has already served to heighten long-standing interest in the status of legal norms regulating much of Soviet life.
Included in the new constitution was a special article in chapter 7, which deals with the "basic rights, freedoms, and duties of citizens of the USSR." This article (number 47) guarantees "freedom of scientific, technical and artistic creativity" and "state protection of the rights of authors, inventors, and rationalizers." Earlier constitutions may be interpreted to have offered such guarantees, but the 1977 Constitution was the first to specifically mention freedom of creativity in science and technology.
These rights and freedoms since the 1920s had been protected in the USSR under the civil codes of the union republics but until 1961 had not even been standardized at the all-union level. In 1961, the Supreme Soviet adopted the "Fundamentals of Civil Legislation of the Soviet Union and the Union Republics."1 The fundamentals (Osnovy) had been promulgated under Article 14 of the 1936 Constitution, which provided the authority to "the highest agencies of state power and state administration" to establish fundamental principles of civil legislation.2 This authority enabled the Soviet government to create a common set of principles for the entire country. In addition to such matters as copyright and inventions already protected under the various civil codes of the union republics, a