Dmitry Medvedev: I am very happy to see you all!
I understand that during your stay at Seliger you discussed innovation policy. Did you come to any agreement? What should the state be doing in this area?
Reply: Dmitry Anatolyevich, we not only discussed this issue but also brought along a number of concrete and clear proposals on what to needs to be done in general and what we can do ourselves.
Dmitry Medvedev: I see.
We have been working hard on this issue for several years now. Unfortunately, we have not made as much progress as we would have liked. I think that you also have this information.
Our companies, large and not so large, spend on average 6–7 percent of their budgets on innovation, and if you look at the situation in terms of the cost price of production, the result will be the same I think. Companies in developed countries spend 50–60 percent of their budgets on research and development. In Japan the figure is more than 70 percent. This really is a very big difference. Our task, of course, is to make every possible effort to encourage work in this area.
I want to inform you that I have just signed a decree on state prizes for young scientists. This is an idea that was proposed a while ago. The prizes are big: each is worth 2.5 million roubles. There are not a lot of them, but why do I say this?
First, we need to make promises that we can keep, and second, the prizes represent the summit of the support system for science, young people in science and innovation that the state should provide. Of course there should be a downwards flow of support: grants from the government and the ministries, but the main work should be carried out by the business community, because research issues are directly related to business, to entrepreneurship. This is completely normal, and this is the road that many countries are already travelling.
Talking about innovation, during the Soviet years enterprises typically engaged in work on innovation themselves, but almost all the developments that resulted went automatically into the state’s hands. Protection for these innovations came in the form of a copyright certificate that gave all rights to the invention directly to the state. There was also a specific thing known as the rationalising proposal, not a bad thing, incidentally, you could call essentially ‘know how’ in today’s language.
After we developed a modern system of rules regarding inventions, the copyright certificates disappeared and patents appeared. Patents are a form of protection that you need to seek yourself and that require money, but, as we know, they do not involve handing the rights to the invention to the state. In other words, not only do you have to invent something, but you then need to get a patent for your invention, pay for it or share the patent with someone, and then actually start using it.
Why do I say this? Unfortunately, work with patents is still not very developed in our country. In other countries, in Europe, China and America, there are thousands of people working in this area, but we are not doing this.
This means that a lot of our innovations either have no protection or obtain protection only after they end up abroad and the patent, accordingly, is issued to the buyers in other countries.
This is just one issue, and there are many others too of course. I propose that we talk about this and other issues that you consider relevant and important today.