Key Economic Asset
Intellectual potential of the nation is the crucial reserve of the sustainable social and economic development of Belarus
Intellectual potential of the nation is the crucial reserve of the sustainable social and economic development of Belarus
What are the current objectives of the Center and how has the role of Belarus’ patent authority changed over recent years?
In line with international commitments of the Republic of Belarus and Decree No. 66 of 12 February 2004, our Center acts as the national patent authority. It means we are responsible for protecting the rights of domestic and foreign writers, inventors, companies and other intellectual property (IP) owners (we accept patent applications, register trademarks and other creations, carry out examinations and maintain state registers, etc).
With a view to hitting the priority socioeconomic targets set by the head of state (promoting innovative development, raising investments, boosting export), the Center has considerably expanded its operations focusing on industrial property protection, patents and licenses; copyright protection and implementation; expansion of educational, information and methodological services in IP, introduction of modern forms of work (we are currently running a project “Intellectual Property Exchange”).
In what way can IP make the national economy more competitive and encourage innovations?
In the present day environment, the economic competitiveness hinges on innovations, new technical solutions and consumer
intellectual property is the greatest asset of the knowledge economy that is gaining ground in Belarus, the basic element of successful business planning and growth. therefore, intellectual property management is coming to the forefront. director General of the national intellectual Property Center leonid Voronetsky updates the Economy of Belarus Magazine on the latest developments in intellectual property management in Belarus.
properties of goods as well as IP protection. Therefore, today IP is viewed as a crucial asset of the fledgling knowledge economy, the basic element of successful business planning and growth in Belarus. In other words, the transformation of knowledge into a major economic resource – intellectual property – is the underlying factor behind the sustainable social and economic development of the country. Intellectual property helps commercialize creations and inventions, obtain a monopoly right to use state-of-the-art technological solutions, get a competitive edge and earn additional revenues, etc.
Thus, intellectual and technological solutions and efficient IP management play an increasingly important role in boosting the competitiveness of the national economy. This gives added urgency to a balanced government policy dovetailed with priority areas of the country’s social and economic development.
The head of state demanded that government investments into science and technology, trade, industry, social and cultural fields should generate sufficient payoffs. To this end, the Center has adopted a special action plan to elaborate the IP system, which envisages a more orderly and transparent IP market, developed infrastructure, patent research and its harmonization with patent and legal regulations of the sales markets, ensuring due protection and enforcement of intellectual property created with the help of budget funds.
Taking into consideration the increasing role of patent and license regulation and IP protection, the government has implemented an IP protection program aimed at a more efficient utilization of intellectual potential and intangible assets.
There has been much discussion recently about the growing role of IP and its efficient use. What is your assessment of the situation with IP protection and management?
The key area of attention now is enhancing the economic performance with the help of IP and formation of special IP agencies on the sectoral and regional levels and within specific organizations.
In pursuance of the President’s instruction to build up the innovative potential of Belarus, the government is fully engaged in formation and enforcement of a centralized and sectoral IP policy turning it into a key instrument of raising competitiveness of domestic goods and services.
Here I would like to mention that back in 2005 the Center carried out a comprehensive analysis of the situation regarding IP protection and management on the sectoral
level. The study revealed the need to expand the Ip-related infrastructure, including establishment of regional consultation and methodical offices, setting up IP protection and management bureaus at companies, development of a sectoral patent and license policy.
In 2008-2010 the government carried out a program designed to streamline the national system of IP protection and management and develop a working infrastructure at the sectoral and company level.
As practice shows, Belarus’ IP laws and the existing infrastructure allow domestic and foreign IP owners to choose the best form of IP protection (patent or commercial confidentiality) and to protect investments, generate more revenue, get competitive advantages and ensure stable and protected presence of goods (services) in domestic and foreign markets. In other words, this modern economic tool can be used to enhance the competitiveness of products.
For example, this tool has been skillfully used by the winners of national competitions for the best inventor and IP manager such as Minsk Tractor Works, Peleng, the Institute of Powder Metallurgy of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, the design bureau for grain and forage harvesting machinery, the Belarusian National Technical University, Belcard, Spartak, Savushkin Product, etc.
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has presented awards to the Stepanov Institute of Physics of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, Minsk Tractor Works, Minsk Kristall, Belyi Institute of Mechanics of Metal Polymer Systems of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus.
However, it is too early to say that all problems in this field have been solved in the country. We have to admit that the national system of IP protection and management needs to be optimized. First, we need to avoid a formal approach to commercial aspects of IP and the development of industrial infrastructure of the system.
By underestimating the importance of IP protection of a market, a supplier or producer may violate IP rights such as invention, trademark, industrial design rights or other rights and run into significant expenses or even lose an opportunity to sell products in a particular market.
IP management is a complex multifaceted business. Without proper market analysis, evaluation of technology trends it is difficult to make good decisions regarding the creation, protection and exploitation of IP assets. Is the domestic business community provided with the necessary information so that they could act smart in this area? How are things with educational and methodological activities in this area?
Patent documentation is the main source of information to assess qualitative and, consequently, competitive properties of products.
Patent research is required to implement wise scientific and technical, trade and industrial policies, monitor the efficiency of budget spending on science and technology and ensure safe promotion of Belarusian products in domestic and overseas markets.
The National Scientific and Technical Library maintains the patent database, which now features over 45 million patent documents from Belarus and more than 50 foreign countries.
Inventors, patent specialists can use local databases and online resources to obtain the necessary information about the patent and legal characteristics of a market, quality, properties of equipment offered for sale, etc.
In turn, the Center publishes training manuals and the journal “Intellectual Property in Belarus”, posts methodological and patent information on its website at http://belgospatent.org.by.
In order to improve the quality of services provided by patent agents and IP appraisers, measures have been taken regarding training and certification of patent agents and IP appraisers. As of early 2011, 103 patent agents and 28 certified appraisers were registered with the State Register of Patent Agents.
As for the training of IP specialists, the Center operates a education center that provides training in various aspects of commercialization and protection of intellectual property, in cooperation with the WIPO Worldwide Academy and the Russian State Academy of Intellectual Property.
In the past five years the Center has trained more than 1,000 managers and specialists of domestic organizations. About 6,000 specialists have attended sectoral and regional workshops.
With assistance from the Center and the Education Ministry, in 2006 all tertiary institutions in the country introduced the course “Fundamentals of Intellectual Property Management”. The Belarusian National Technical University offers a refresher course “Intellectual Property Management”.
In order to give more exposure to IP protection and management issues, the Center hosts an annual competition of student works in the field of intellectual property.
To some extent a good illustration of the importance of IP for raising the competitiveness of national products is boosting the protection of Belarusian trademarks and inventions both domestically and internationally. What are the latest developments in this area and what can you say about the results achieved?
If we look at the present situation we will see that the government did a good job in implementing the above-noted program which prompted Belarusian businesses to take active measures in protecting their industrial property both at home and abroad.
As a result, over the last five years the number of applications for the protection of inventions and trademarks submitted by Belarusian companies has soared by more than 50%. In 2010, the number of Eurasian patent applications (protection within the CIS) submitted by Belarusian businesses doubled as compared to 2005. The number of applications for trademark registration submitted by Belarusian companies in the Russian Federation grew 2.5 times, the number of applications for international trademark registration and that of registered deals involving IP grew four and more than 2.5 times respectively.
MTZ, Amkodor, BELAZ, Gomselmash, Tsentr research organization of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, Milavitsa, Minsk-kristall, Peleng, Belmedpreparaty, the Institute of Physical and Organic Chemistry of the Belarusian State University have all been following due procedures regarding intellectual property protection, which helps them effectively use the results of their intellectual activities and streamline their operation on the domestic and foreign markets.
In pursuance of the presidential instruction, one of the main priorities of the Center is raising effectiveness of protection of the rights of Belarusian creators. The measures taken in 20052010 laid down the foundation for the dynamic development and strengthening of protection mechanisms and implementation of domestic inventors’ rights both at home and abroad.
Thus, in 2010, the remuneration of Belarusian inventors totaled Br3.284 billion, which was five times more than in 2004.
It is no coincidence that WIPO Director General Francis Gurry has commended the Belarusian conceptual approach to implementing IP protection measures by noting that the Center plays the leading role in creating a modern IP protection system in the region. He also said he was confident that Belarus would find effective solutions to the present challenges given the country’s great human resources potential.
The facts cited above show a positive dynamics in IP protection and management in Belarus. Apart from that, what problems do you think should be tackled in the near future?
Unfortunately, a positive dynamics alone is not enough for ensuring satisfactory protection of Belarus’ IP abroad. Nor can it ensure the use of IP as a tool to set up corporations and commodity distribution networks. The number of protected Belarusian trademarks and inventions on foreign markets remains low and insufficient to secure a foothold of Belarusian producers there. The most pressing task in the long-term perspective is to solve problems relating to the protection of IP rights of Belarusian producers within the Customs Union and Single Economic Space of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia, one of the basic principles of which is a barrier-free movement of goods across the borders of these three states.
Apart from of the low number of protected IP items there is also a problem of ensuring patenting efficiency. For instance, only 40% of all the patents issued by the Center remain in force due to insufficient innovations, lack of the developed infrastructure that promotes IP commercialization, as well as unpreparedness of a specific invention for industrial use and the fact that some patented inventions do not meet the urgent production needs.
As for the quality evaluation of patented inventions there is also a problem of their inventive level which is not high enough to provide the national manufacturing sector with the necessary competitive advantages on the global market.
An analysis of case studies of 2009-2010 shows that only about 10% of all the patented Belarusian inventions are the result of the state sci-tech programs, which does not offset the input of the state into the country’s innovative development.
It is necessary to channel all the available resources into the creation and protection of IP assets in the promising areas of the technological development as well as in the traditional sectors of the national economy.
Implementation of specific strategic priorities set out by the President of Belarus to boost the export potential based on foreign investment, to facilitate innovation development, raise competitiveness of the national economy is only possible by ensuring the efficient use of IP mechanisms.
With a view to meeting the goals in this area the State Committee for Science and Technology in cooperation with the Center, all the interested stakeholders and WIPO have developed the 2011-2020 Strategy on Intellectual Property of the Republic of Belarus. The strategy will help develop an efficient mechanism of deriving economic advantages from innovation activities, raising competitiveness of Belarusian products both on the domestic and foreign markets based on modern business methods and competition backed by the efficient use of intellectual property.
Director General of the National Intellectual Property Center Leonid Voronetsky presents a golden medal of the World Intellectual Property Organization to Andrei Dyuzhev, the author of more than 100 inventions, chief designer of grain and forage harvesting machinery of the of Industry Ministry of Belarus, director of the design bureau for grain and forage harvesting machinery