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MARINE SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH

Both the United States and Russia have research vessels with long-distance cruising capabilities. The United States has consistently been slow in granting permission for Russian vessels to operate close to the U.S. shoreline. At the same time, delayed Russian authorizations can cost the United States up to $40,000 per day of delay in carrying out fisheries-related research near Russian borders.

An example provided by the Department of State of the problems with permission to enter waters close to Russia is as follows:

In 2011, scientists associated with the Russian-U.S. Long-term Census of the Arctic research program on board the Russian-flagged vessel Khromov were prevented by the Russian navy from entering Russian territorial waters to retrieve three oceanographic moorings. These moorings had limited battery time. Some of the data will never be retrieved. It is clear that this administrative problem could have been avoided through better communications, and it harmed the carrying out of a costly Arctic research program that has significant biology-related components.

The situation apparently improved in 2012.

LEGAL BASIS FOR ACTIVITIES

Appropriate documents signed by authorized government officials or institutional leaders in both countries are often needed to conduct cooperative scientific activities abroad. These documents may be intergovernmental agreements, memoranda of understanding, or simply exchanges of letters. Whatever the format, they are important. And they must have the correct stamps and signatures. Even the best-designed joint activities can be disrupted through lack of appropriate and readily available documentation.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS

Financial benefits to be derived from protecting IP and the procedures for obtaining patent or copyright protection are often poorly understood by inventors of technological innovations. Occasionally, IP rights have been a contentious issue in setting the stage for a cooperative activity. At times, patent protection may be critical for successful marketing of products.

However, the significance of patent protection may be exaggerated. In Russia, in particular, an inventor may be more interested in having a patent certificate to hang on the wall than using a patent as an incentive for a paying customer to adopt a new discovery. The inventor may have witnessed too many colleagues waste their time searching for customers, although at the same time the inventor would like personal recognition for his or her technical achievement.

Nevertheless, the lack of agreement on such protection can inhibit sharing



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