European Patent Office Translation Service Covers 32 languages

A year ahead of schedule, the European Patent Office (EPO) added eight more languages to its free machine translation service for patents, bringing the total to 32.

The service now covers the 28 official languages of the EU’s member states, as well as Russian and several Asian languages.

According to the EPO’s website:

Patent Translate is now complete and covers translations between English and 31 other languages, namely Albanian, Bulgarian, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish. Translation from and into French and German is also available for 17 of these languages.

The translation service is designed to aid patent offices, inventors, and businesses by providing access to information about patented technologies.

The translation service was launched in 2012 as a joint project between the EPO, Google, the patent offices of the EU member states, and other major patent offices.

The service receives about 12,000 patent translation requests per day.  Espacenet, the EPO’s patent database, contains more than 88 million patent documents from all over the world.

The EU is in the process of trying to implement a unified patent court system.  The EU’s Council of Ministers has backed the reforms and members of the European Parliament are expected to vote on them in March of 2014.

The new European patent law system would allow inventors to obtain a unitary patent that covers multiple European country jurisdictions by making a single application with the EPO.  This is expected to reduce costs for patent applications and increase innovation in Europe.

Under the current system, EU-wide patent protection is only available for patent holders who validate their patents in each EU member state.  The patent must first be translated into each state’s language – hence the need for the online translation service.

Stay up-to-date on the latest Intellectual Property Law news from Sheldon Mak & Anderson.

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