ON MARCH 10-12, 1980, representatives from the State Committee on Inventions and Discoveries, the Institute of State and Law of the USSR Academy of Sciences, and the Central Council of the All-Union Society of Inventors and Rationalizers met in Moscow to formulate a recommendation that the current normative acts governing discoveries, inventions, and other forms of industrial property be replaced by the highest form of law in the Soviet Union, zakon. Throughout 1980, 1981, and 1982, a torrent of articles was published, all strongly supporting the recommendation. Western observers speculated in the spring of 1980 that the new Soviet law on inventions would soon be adopted.1 The delay in promulgating the law is reminiscent of the long, tortuous process in approving the 1977 Constitution. Since there have been no reports of official deliberations on this request and no draft laws similar to those published long before the 1959 and 1973 statutes were adopted, we can conclude that the proposed zakon, if it is approved at all, is still several years away from implementation. The question, however, is of considerable importance to the future of discovery protection and of patent law in general.
As we have seen, the existing legal mechanisms for patent and discovery protection have been the normative acts passed by the Council of Ministers of the USSR. These acts, the statutes, have the force of law throughout the country. By authority of the council, the long list of regulations introduced by the Committee on Inventions and Discoveries is also legally binding (in theory) across the land. In practice the regulations are often ignored by individuals and organizations governed by other