What you Need to Know About Patent Translation


In the United States during the year 2000, obtaining a patent cost between $10,000 and $30,000. About one percent of those new patents wound up in court. When you want to tap the global market, regulation and standard procedures change according to national law and countries participating in the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). It is important to follow language regulation in order to avoid rejection or violation of a patent application.

patent translation

In general, an application for a patent must be filed, and a patent shall be granted and enforced, in each country in which you seek patent protection for your invention, in accordance with the law of that country. In some countries, a regional patent office, for example, the European Patent Office (EPO) and the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), accepts regional patent applications, or grants patents, which have the same effect as applications filed, or patents granted, in the member States of that region. The EPO requires the patent application to be filed in English, German, or French. The content (description, claims, text, and drawings) must be translated into the language of the desired country for national acceptance. A European Union “unitary patent” will be launched next year.

The PCT requires the request has to be filed in one of the ten publication languages under the PCT, that is, in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian or Spanish. To avoid costly mistakes, it is important to use only the most qualified linguists or language service provider (LSP) when translating patent information.

Patent law is a very complex and specialized area of the legal industry. Protecting your product internationally means an exponential increase in effort, and hiring contractors and consultants with the best talents. You may wonder what accredited translator would want to specialize in patent law. The answer is: a smart one. These translators might have advanced degrees in Engineering, Microbiology, Bio-Technology, or Chemistry. They have often had careers in technology or engineering firms worldwide, and intimately know the market.

International patent attorneys and their clients know how vulnerable they can be to a slight mistake in phrasing between languages. Patents are generally only enforced though civil law, for instance, although a few nations like France and Austria have criminal penalties for wanton infringement.

A person accused of violating a patent can challenge the validity of the patent in most countries, and often gets it overturned. In some countries a ruling against the validity of a patent cannot be re-litigated. More information can be found with the World Intellectual Property Organization online.

The ability to assign a patent to another is limited in some countries, where sometimes a person licensing a patent cannot assign that patent to another without the permission of other proprietors in that country.

You can now assemble teams of your own staff with outside talent in virtual offices extending around the globe. Language service providers can help you find a translator with the required background and knowledge to supply a quality translation, as well as provide consulting on international regulation.

An example of CETRA’s patent translation comes from a large international law firm needing translation from Japanese into English of legal claims of a technical nature, regarding wireless transmission. The project manager assigned a translator with experience with the World Intellectual Property Organization to handle these projects. The client was pleased with the final product, and requested translation of an update to a technical patent publication from a large Japanese technology firm, which included request for a trial decision.

The client continually requested claim translations for Japanese and Mandarin Chinese, and developed a working relationship with the single point of contact at CETRA, resulting in fast turnaround times and consistent quality legal translations.

This is the kind of resource that an expanding company can tap today, and there’s no reason to feel overwhelmed by the challenge of protecting your product or intellectual property on the global marketplace.