By Dmitry Mironov
The National Centre for Intellectual Property believes that the way to enhance competitiveness of the domestic economy, attract investments and expand export potential is to encourage innovative development. Every year, the number of those applying for patents grows; over the past five years, applications have risen 1.5-fold, with 2,000 received last year. Most were from domestic entities, while 300 were submitted by foreign developers.
Naturally, not every application is granted a patent or gains industrial application. “The Intellectual Property Exchange is operational at our site, featuring 150 novelties at present — which are attractive for investment,” explains the Head of the Substantive Examination Department at the National Centre for Intellectual Property, Alexey Baidak. “Organisations place commercial proposals here too.” As the Chairman of the State Committee for Science and Technology, Igor Voitov, notes, the information base will begin full operation by late 2011.
Specialists say that, over the past decade, intellectual property has gained significance worldwide, becoming part of a firm’s non-material assets, able to be transferred by agreement. It is included in a company’s statutory fund and can even act as an object of pledge. The Belarusian National Statistical Committee tells us that, in 2010, intellectual property comprised 0.2 percent of the total volume of Belarusian companies’ assets. The Head of the Department of State Registers and Industrial Property Economics at the National Centre for Intellectual Property, Yevgeny Sesitsky, notes, “The official accountancy of such famous companies as IBM, Microsoft and Lukoil states that, as of January 1st, 2011, the share of their non-material assets stood at 3, 1.3 and 1 percent respectively. This figure is naturally lower in our country but, pleasingly, it has seen a recent rise.”
However, not everyone in Belarus is ready to view intellectual property (such as trademarks) as part of a company’s assets, since it is so difficult to define an exact monetary value. Some say: ‘it’s impossible to assess that which cannot be touched’. The National Centre for Intellectual Property’s General Director, Leonid Voronetsky, says, “It’s worth mentioning that the level of awareness regarding intellectual property is growing among Belarusians. Consultative points have been set up in all regional centres, overseeing inventions’ protection. Similar services operate at almost every concern.”
Statistical figures confirm that the number of Belarusian-developed trademarks applying for patent has risen 1.5-fold since 2005, with over 95,000 trademarks from 93 countries operating in Belarus today, in addition to over 10,000 patents on inventions. The number of applications from Belarusian enterprises to protect their brands in Russia has grown 2.5-fold, while the number of foreign applications for branded slogans and pictures (applied for under the Madrid system), has risen over 4-fold.
Once a patent is granted, its holder is allowed to charge 40 percent on any revenue earned from use of its logo, slogans, images or name; this should certainly inspire entrepreneurs to develop new projects.