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