Under the 1973 Soviet Union statute, in force from 1978, patent term was 15 years. When the 1991 law was brought in, the term was set at 20 years from filing.
The Decree of the USSR Supreme Soviet enacting the 1991 law states (at Article 5) that ‘patents for inventions issued prior to 1 July 1991 whose terms have not expired are equated by legal status to the patent issued on the basis of the USSR Law: “On inventions in the USSR”’. [i.e. the new 1991 law].
Should this be interpreted to mean that all in-force 1973 law patents were automatically extended to 20 years? If so, the last cases to be granted, just before 1 July 1991, would not be due to expire until late 2010 or early 2011 (assuming a filing date of late 1990 or early 1991 - prosecution times were quite short). Can anyone comment?