THE REFORM HAS RIPENED
Everybody knows that inventors and engineers are those, who we thank for all welfare our civilization possesses and can’t live without. In the modern world the problems the inventors have to run into look like simple, though they are too difficult to be got over. We did go through them. It pushed us to think over and clear up the reasons of the problems and find the solution.
Taking out a patent
To take out a patent for any invention the author has to submit the national invention application inside his own country and if it is confirmed he gets the national patent within 2-3 following years. Along with it he gets protection from unauthorized use for the period of 20 years, if he only pays protective duty annually. To protect his invention from the use outside his country the author must submit the international application within one year from the day he submitted the national one. Then, before 30 months have passed the author has to start, so called, national patent phases in the countries he is interested in. Of course, it includes such expenditures as, for instance, attorneys, taxes and duties. All in all, it can come to $10 000 an invention.
Thus, to get patent protection for one invention in at least five developed countries (where the unauthorized use is most likely) the author has to spend much more than US $50 000. It is obvious that most inventors, not only in Russia but in most countries of the world, don’t possess that big money and the inventions of intellectuals in these countries have no protection outside. So, after 30 months have passed anyone can use them free. Actually, this is why we gave up submitting applications for inventions.
Sometimes a developed country invites an inventor and gives him good conditions to realize his ideas. It mainly happens to particular speciality workers because it is more profitable to have an inventor than to steal his inventions as sometimes it’s impossible to make out a thing without the author’s help. In the cases when an invention can be used without the author’s participation it will be stolen and used with no consequences. In both former and latter cases the invention works for prosperity and image of another state. The inventor himself can move to some developed country but it would take him rather big sums of money and as we said earlier the number of those who could manage this is quite miserable. Even if he is able to go abroad whether he will get a job in his particular speciality is an open question.
There are a lot of countries in the world which don’t keep innovation policy or it doesn’t work efficiently. The inventors living in these countries have no chances to bring their ideas into life. It would be fair to say that the inventor’s intellectual potential totally depends on the internal innovation policy of his country.
Haven’t we come to conclusion that the inventor is to blame for he was born in a wrong place? By the way according to the existing international regulations the whole world may efficiently use his ideas with no following punishment. Trying to contribute into a science or some other sphere of life the inventor suffers twice: when his government doesn’t take care of him, his life and his working conditions and when someone abroad steals his ideas and the inventor has no possibility to protect his rights.
Till this ill international system of protection of intellectual property exists, most engineers and scientists won’t be able to realize their abilities and won’t be paid adequately. Speaking the truth, it is a latent form of robbery: developed countries rob inventors from other countries and the latter ones themselves. It is clear that this strategy is initiated by the biggest world corporations. How can the western world speculate about human rights?
From the first sight this problem seems to be too specific and may concern to very particular circles of inventors and scientists. But when you think of why this patent system exists in the world you begin to understand that this problem can be sold on the level of global policy.
It’s a fact that the prestige of a country depends on its economic power and, consequently, on its possibility to create deserved conditions for its citizens. This explains the authority of the USA, Japan, Western Europe countries. What makes the economic power of these countries? It appears that the biggest half of GNP growth in these countries is based on innovation technologies, i.e. they develop and reach the economic power thanks to the unbroken process of perfection in service and high technologies. It means that high technologies secure stable growth in economy and thus, the innovation policy like this helps to reduce social tension in the country. This is very wise and proper policy and it could seem there can’t be any questions – every country itself choose its innovation policy and takes responsibility for possible mistakes. But there is just one snag! What feeds the unbroken process of perfection in service and high technologies in these countries? The answer is obvious: discoveries, inventions, know-how. And there are only three ways for them to appear: the use of the internal intellectual potential, brain import and industrial espionage or, in another word, stealing.
In fact, the leading powers of the world demonstrated their superiority over other countries in science and technics in the 19th and 20th centuries and they keep doing it. But having won the leader titles in high technologies these countries don’t want to lose the positions even for all goods on earth. They use various economical and political tools to preserve the situation as it is. And one of the most efficient tools is the existing international patent system with its unnecessary complicacy and gigantic duties.
This system is favourable for such countries as the USA, Japan and Western Europe with their richest corporations which can pay the duties. Taking into account the role of the USA in the world scientific and technical progress and its image of world leader, its thirst for lasting monopoly of leadership, great resource of pressure on the world policy in any sphere you can easily guess that this system is first of all favourable for the USA. And they, sure, will be doing their best to preserve status quo in this matter. The existing system is also very beneficial for the legion of judicial firms which specialize on protection of copyrights getting fees for their services.
Actually, such patent system can be called colonial because both inventors from other countries and their countries themselves are deliberately put into unfavourable conditions. This system infringes upon human rights and acts against development of the whole human civilization because the necessity of the maximal support of scientific and technical progress is beyond all questions.
What are the results of such situation in the sphere of high technologies?
Not rich, the intellectual potential of the developing countries is used “on the legal basis” by the developed ones and turns into goods and services which are sold all over the world. Of course, the real author’s name is never mentioned anywhere. Excessive patent expenditures and too high income rates result in high prices of licensed products – all this is exported and becomes a heavy burden on shoulders of the majority of consumers. This is the reason for piracy to spread all over the world.
Due to such world turnover of intellectual property the economic power of the mentioned countries grows and their images of absolute leaders of scientific and technical progress strengthen. Such image plays a very important role in the modern world because it allows from high tribune to accuse opposite countries for backwardness and to state that the developed ones reached prosperity thanks to their political and economical systems which bring progress to the humanity. As for the USA, it dares to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries sometimes using its mighty military machine.
This policy keeps the most of the rest countries in stagnation or slows their economical development, they cannot change their status of backward states, they are out of international respectability, and they deeper and deeper go down into economical and political dependence on the developed countries. It leads to social conflicts and growing economical inequality between rich and poor countries.
As we see this “sucking brains out” policy which protects interests of the rich countries is one of the main reasons of backwardness of the developing countries and hasn’t been properly appraised by the world community. A single word hasn’t been said about colonial character of this policy. More over, turning everything inside out some countries blame the developing ones for stagnation speculating about the “conflict between civilizations”.
The trump of islamophobia
Judging by the modern political situation, the Islamic world countries have been appointed to be the main object for attacks. They are accused of backwardness, they are said to live in the Middle Age, to be unable to create and to produce anything new. For the sake of justice it is necessary to say, that the majority of islamic states gives occasions for such accusations. They are first of all countries conducting policy which has nothing common with the real islamic democracy. But when somebody tries to hide the true reasons and states that the reason of this backwardness is Islam as a religion, which itself calls to give priority attention to knowledge, development of sciences and engineering, as no other religions do, it is considered by real muslims as barefaced provocation and disrespect to Islam and the Islamic civilization. You see accusation Islam of backwardness is one of the main trumps of constantly inflated islamophobia. But taking into account the fact that practically all scientific and technical achievements were adopted by Europe from Islamic countries as long ago as in the 10 – 15th centuries, such accusation looks simply ridiculous and absurd.
External pressure and stagnancy of internal regimes of many countries of the Islamic world, which do not hurry to reform, derivate protests and result in obvious opposition, sometimes armed, inside the countries and abroad.
But absence of modern scientific and technical base, underdeveloped innovation policy of the islamic countries and the rest “backward” world at all do not speak that in these countries there can not be competent people whose inventions would be in demand all over the world. Therefore it is simply necessary to create initial equal conditions for the inventors of the world, to break off dependence of the inventor on the level of development of science, engineering and internal innovation policy of the country he belongs to. And the first step in this direction should be radical reforming of the existing international legislation in the sphere of protection of intellectual property. And such task the UNO can only manage.
The reform has ripened
We reckon the UNO must develop such system of patent rules, which would stimulate and protect invention activity of the citizen of any country of the world and guarantee free and convenient access to the invention for all those interested in its realization. For this purpose the UNO has to reform the existing or to found a new international organization on protection of the intellectual property. The new overnational and international system must meet the following basic requirements:
The money got from these kinds of activity will satisfy needs of the organization and will allow to make the process of patenting free-of-charge in future all over the world.
The second component of the program on stimulating the invention activity all over the world would be the creation of national and regional centres – technical parks at branches of the new international organization. The target international financial help and the help with technically competent staff at the first stage will allow national “brains” to realize themselves in their countries.
This reform will make national borders unable to impede the protection of the intellectual property. This will ensure incredible rise and optimization of invention activity and its maximal demand in the global economy.
What will it bring in practice? Any inventor, even from a most backward country, could safely declare his invention, not being afraid of stealing and receive appropriate payments for his inventions. One of the main points here is that it wouldn’t be necessary for him to leave his country. Not only license payments, but investments will also go to the country of his residing and work for its economy. Step by step such reforms will strengthen prestige of science and engineering in such countries and will give impulse to the development of an efficient innovation policy. The tendency of reduction of the break between advanced and developing countries will appear. It will have a positive effect on the interstate relations and will bring in much into insurance of the stability in the world.
If the system like this had been working at least since the middle of the 20th century, “the outflow of brains” would not have reached such a large scale and would not have resulted in the existing break in economy, science and engineering between countries. Therefore if the economically advanced countries really want to help the rest of the world and not just to accuse it of backwardness, they should initiate such reform. But all of us understand well that there are almost no hopes for it.
We think that Russia being a country of huge intellectual resources and losing more than other states do, because of the existing international patent system, should act as an initiator of such reform and become the protection centre of interests of the less developed countries in this important matter. Such position of our country can also become attractive for the countries – members of the Organization of Islam Conference, which are most often accused of backwardness. The joint statement of Russia and the Organization of the Islam Conference in the UNO with offers on reforming the existing international system of protection of the intellectual property will not only increase chances of success, but will also ensure the further strategically necessary rapprochement between our country and countries of the Islamic world.
Translated from Russian by Eldar Kardashev
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