Russian Business Week: ICCI Conference ‘Innovative Development and IPR: Global Context and National Priorities’

RSPP President Alexander Shokhin delivered opening remarks, noting that 2010 was a significant year for the development of innovative economy. Businesses confirmed their interest in the development of the Skolkovo project and started to participate in pushing innovation in various economic sectors. At the same time, Mr. Shokhin believes, the situation is far from ideal. Administrative barriers, imperfect regulatory environment and tax burden combine to inhibit the development of innovation in Russia. ‘Innovative climate in Russia is worse than the investment one which is not good either’, said Mr. Shokhin.

Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Ivanov outlined the chief areas for the government to upgrade innovative economy. Those are tax stimulus measures for R&D and innovation, simplified taxation schemes, reversing the decision to cut down R&D spending, revision of the Tax Code (tax exemption for emerging hi-tech businesses).

Mr. Ivanov told of the results promotion of demand for innovation among Russian majors has had so far: Russian Railways, Gazprom and United Shipbuilding Company are generating about 10% of their net profit from innovations. They have established cooperation with the country’s leading universities in the area of innovative research and RUR 30 billion ($1.064 billion) have been earmarked for research. Further government stimulus measures will include technology platforms, an ‘innovation lift’ within the Skolkovo framework (a network for passing new technologies from one institution to the next). In the ensuing discussion there emerged the issue of innovation funding, e.g. the necessity of subsidized loans for innovative projects. So far, the majority of those do not need vast loans while ‘small-scale’ projects pose little interest for organizations like the Investment Fund. The Vice Prime Minister promised to find a solution to fill in the gap. Among the possible solutions is resuscitation of the Fund for Scientific and Technological Developments.

The Minister of Telecom and Mass Communications Igor Shchegolev called innovation and protection of intellectual property ‘sensitive and interconnected issues’ in his sector. He underlined the importance of creating ‘open platforms for free and open source software’ and a unified algorithm and program fund’.

Viktor Vekselberg, chairman of the RSPP International Cooperation Committee said that the society has acknowledged the vital necessity of a transition to innovative economy. The country is searching for innovators and the Skolkovo Foundation provides the все environment for the new entrepreneur. Mr. Vekselberg expressed his confidence in the success of the project.

Oleg Fomichev, Deputy Economic Development Minister underlined the pressing necessity for government support not only for innovation but for businesses in general, arguing that some businessmen have great difficulty doing business in Russia.

The guest at the conference could put questions to Elena Panina, (Deputy Chairperson, State Duma Committee for Industry),Valentin Gapanovich (Senior Vice President, ‘Russian Railways’), Oleg Dobrynin (Head of the Department for Control and Supervising of Legal Protection of IP Objects, Federal Service for Intellectual Property, Patents and Trademarks), Dominique Fache (General Director for Russia and CIS, Enel), Nikolay Pryanishnikov (CEO, ‘Microsoft Rus’).