Russians invent … bottles?

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What if every Chinese restaurant suddenly had to start paying royalties to a company that claimed it had just invented cardboard cartons? What if bottlers of beer, juice, water, and soft drinks had to fork over 0.5 percent of their total income to some guys who sauntered over to the government patent office, ponied up a few bucks, and staked out a patent on bottles? In Russia, they’re finding out.

The CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR reports that a little-known Moscow company called Intellekt recently successfully applied for a patent on “glass containers,” and now claims that bottlers, especially brewers, owe them royalties for using their “invention.”

Taking advantage of Russia’s fledgling intellectual property laws to claim ownership of a product that’s been around for years apparently wasn’t much of a challenge. “The drawings that were submitted described a particular kind of geometric curve, detailing a difference in thickness between inside and outside edges,” justifies an official from the patent bureau. “It looked new.”

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Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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