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property, are required to bring it into compliance with the provisions of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Such compliance is one of the prerequisites for joining the World Trade Organization.
The reliability of the present Russian patent system, and consequently its attractiveness to domestic and foreign investors in the Russian economy, can be evaluated on the basis of two factors: the reliability of the protective documents issued by the patent agency (such as patents on inventions, useful models, industrial samples, and certificates of trademark) and the reliability of the judicial system for stopping violations of exclusive rights in reviewing rights infringement disputes.
Reliability of Protective Documents and the Judicial System
The reliability of protective documents, particularly patents on inventions, was rather high in the former USSR and remains so in Russia today because patent legislation and related administrative directives in the former USSR and now in Russia stipulate very detailed methodological approaches in evaluating the patentability of an invention. Experts from the USSR and Russian patent agency traditionally have performed thorough scientific-technical and methodological analyses of proposed inventions during the course of their patent examinations. This tradition characterized the professional "school" of the Russian patent review process. As a result of changes in patent legislation (for example, the removal of the requirement that a proposed invention have a "positive effect" and the significant expansion of procedural-legal provisions), the experts now devote less time to analyzing the scientific-technical aspects of the inventions. They now focus more attention on analyzing methodological and procedural-legal questions in conducting patent examinations.
In 1996, the Russian Patent Agency (the Chamber of Appeals of the Russian Agency for Patents and Trademarks) reviewed objections to the issuance of 25 patents on various inventions. Of these disputed patents, only three were annulled as mistakenly issued. In 1997 after reviewing objections to 27 patents, again only three were annulled. These decisions on the part of the patent agency were not further challenged in the courts.
The reliability of trademark certificates is another matter. In 1996 after review of objections to 68 trademark registrations, 11 registrations were annulled. In 1997 the complaints against 78 trademark registrations resulted in the annulment of 33 registrations. Only one of all of these decisions on the part of the patent agency was overturned by the courts.
Clearly, the reliability of the judicial system in stopping violations of exclusive rights cannot be deemed as great as the reliability of the patents issued. In the former USSR, the courts almost never reviewed cases involving