I know Russians do patents now, but did the Soviets of the USSR do them? When did the patent system start in Russia?

3 Answers 3


Russian patent system was officially launched in 1812 by Imperator Alexander I in his "Chartered Rights Manifesto", however some patent-like preferences were used since 1748. The patent legislation was updated in 1833, 1870, 1896, 1900, and 1912. A Letter Patent might be issued for 15 years and could be challenged by a third party.

After Revolution of 1917 the patent system was destroyed but in 1919 it was re-launched in a significantly changed form. Letter Patent was replaced by Inventor's Certificate. A patented invention was declared to be a state property and the inventor could receive just some incentive from the state. In 1924 Letter Patent as such was reinstated but was used very rarely and mainly it was issued for foreign patent holders, and again was cancelled in 1931. The Soviet Union joined the Paris Convention in 1965 and the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) in 1978. Inventor's Certificate survived some reforms of 1973 and 1978 and it was used till 1990, when the Soviet Union Patent Law was adopted and Letter Patent was back again. In 1991 the Soviet Patent Law was dropped as the Soviet Union disintegrated, and in 1992 the Russian Patent Law was adopted and passed in order to replace the Soviet one.

Now patent area in Russia is covered by the Civil Code and some additional Regulations.

  • it would be really nice if you could provide live links to full text of said legislation.
    – Pushpak
    May 2, 2015 at 13:31
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    Assiming that the question relates to the current legislation, the following links to RUPTO site may be provided (all in Russian language): The Civil Code of the Russian Federation, Part IV www1.fips.ru/wps/wcm/connect/2702c7804e2e0255aa93ae4d80890bf7/… Executive Regulations on Inventions www1.fips.ru/wps/wcm/connect/content_ru/ru/documents/… Executive Regulations on Utility Models www1.fips.ru/wps/wcm/connect/content_ru/ru/documents/…
    – Stan
    May 5, 2015 at 9:27
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    Moreover, there are some additional documents, e.g. covering incentives for inventions-by-hire, handling secret inventions, etc. If you need more detailed information on Russian patent law and practice you are welcome to contact me by a private message.
    – Stan
    May 5, 2015 at 9:28
  • The share of secret patents in the USSR was extremely large. If you’re interested in the details, see: link The 1924 patent law was established to attract foreign investment (part of the Concessions Policy), but it also attracted local Russian talent, such as Oleg Losev, a pioneer in semiconductor research.
    – JMartens
    Mar 26, 2017 at 17:16
  • John, your study seems to be very in-depth and extensive. My respect for that. As for nowadays, I do not possess data on secret patenting in Russia, but my feeling is, it is not so wide now as it was in the Soviet past. The reason is that direct administrative tools are much more effective than law tools when we are talking about profit gained from producing defence systems, articles for atomic industry, etc. intended entirely for domestic use and therefore classified.
    – Stan
    Mar 27, 2017 at 18:58

I attended a seminar last month about Patent and Intellectual property issues. One of the speaker from Patexia discussed the history of patent and cited some countries. One of the countries mentioned was Russia. FIY, Russia has a "first-to-file" patent system. Russian patent law is fairly comprehensive, offering protection to most products and technologies.

  • What about the USSR, though?
    – Geremia
    Nov 25, 2014 at 20:58
  • I did some research on it and it shows that the Soviet patent laws follow the same general lines as those of Germany, and give similar protection to the inventor. The Soviet Union does not belong to the International Patent Convention. It has, however, a special patent agreement with Germany. Moreover, foreigners may obtain patents on equal terms with the citizens of the U.S.S.R. Nov 26, 2014 at 1:59

There are Soviet Union patent documents prior to 1989. Their numbering starts with SU, i.e. a typical application number has the form SU-12345. You should be able to find them at the EPO database.

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