You might have read about intellectual property rights, copyright infringements and patent violations. These are legal cases that take time to resolve.
A patent is a right. It is given by the government to an inventor. It’s a right that prevents other people from using, making or selling the invention for a specific period. The patent system encourages useful and unique inventions. A country’s laws and regulations cover patents.
In the United States, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) grants patents for the following categories: utility, plant and design.
Utility patent covers new processes, chemicals and machines. Design patents are for the protection of the unique design or appearance of manufactured items. It could be the overall design or the ornamentation on the surface of an item. Plant patents cover the asexual reproduction or the invention of new and marked varieties of plants including hybrids from other reproduction methods such as rooting or grafting.
What qualifies inventions for a patent?
The invention must be ”non-obvious” and ”novel.” It should be different from other inventions that are similar to it in one or more parts of the item. The invention should not have been used by the public, sold or has received a patent applied by another inventor within 12 months from the date of filing of the application for the patent.
Not every item can be patented. Some of the excluded ones are laws of nature, naturally occurring substances, mathematical formulas, calculation methods, fundamental truths, suggestions, ideas and abstract principles. An invention such as an unsafe drug or those with no legal purpose cannot receive a patent.
However, a method or process that depends on a new formula can be patented. An invention that is being patented must be operable and useful. An invention is considered useful if it falls into any of these categories – an improvement, a composition of matter, a manufacture, a machine or a process.
Intellectual property and jurisdiction
An inventor applies for a patent for his invention to ensure that it will have maximum internationalization, meaning that the invention can be protected in other countries. For this to happen, the original patent that the inventor received should be translated into the languages of the countries where the invention would be sold. There should be a translation of the original patent so the inventor could get the title of registration certificate granted by the governments of different countries.
Importance of translating patents
A patent is a very complex technical document. It recognizes the rights of the creators, designers and inventors to exclusively benefit from the inventions they made. While a patent is under their name, no other person can commercially benefit from it. A patent ensures that the inventor’s intellectual property or the industrial property is protected.
The wording of a patent certificate is very complex. It has specific terminology as well. This means that the translator must be highly skilled or a subject matter expert in order for the patent to be understood.
The patent needs translation especially in the current global business scenario. A company holding a patent for a device is assured that it will achieve success, remain in business and be competitive. For this to happen, the company must hold a patent in different jurisdictions where its product is marketed to protect the product.
The translated patent document is not the only paperwork that is needed by a company to receive the registration or title of grant that will make the item or product the official property of the patent applicant.
Several factors are involved in the success in filing a patent application. The application must have a specific and detailed description of the novel idea in the applicable language as well as following the other requirements and guidelines.
In 2016, worldwide applications for utility patents, according to WIPO reached 3,127,900. China overtook 2014 leader Japan, with 1,338,603 applications. In the United States, applications for utility patents reached 605,571, while Japan only had 318,361 patent applications. China also led in trademark applications with 3,697,916. Japan had 451,320 applications while the U.S. had 545,587 applications.
The figures mean that patent translation requests were very high, keeping subject matter experts busy.
Patent application processing
A patent grant does not happen overnight. It takes about 12 months after the application is filed for the patent to be granted in the U.S., if everything is as required. In the UK the processing takes 18 months. Once granted, the patent protects the patent owner for 20 years from the date the application was filed.
Patents are very intricate and detailed. In the U.S. the applicant must include an oath ensuring that the inventor filed a correct application, which must include the proper names of the inventors and that all information regarding the invention, including a research on patented inventions that are almost the same as that of the inventor/s are made available to the patent office. It must include all drawings, diagrams and art works.
When a translator works on a patent translation, every note, paragraph, heading, diagram, annotation and number must be translated properly. A single mistake can cause the rejection of the application due to technical oversight.
Translation also plays an important role when research is being done. Research is important when the inventor plans to file a patent in other countries. This involves looking for existing patents to ensure that there would not be any infringement on a similar patent. Most of these patents would be in a different language, which means the inventor needs the help of a translator to fully understand the patent document.
Challenges faced by translators
Patent translation is very challenging. It requires concise, clear and direct language. The original texts should be accurately translated to closely describe the technological device or a chemical product. The translation is quite literal without too much regard for the equivalents in other cultures or even estimates in the foreign languages.
A patent translator whose specialty is industrial property must consider the target users of the patent. Being a subject matter expert, the translator must have a deep knowledge of the technical terminology to make the reliable description of the invention. Required also is the familiarity of the translator regarding the formats mandated by the different countries’ patent offices.
Outcomes of an inconsistent patent translation
A patent is a legal document and when the quality of translation is low it can limit the patent’s scope and may have dire legal and financial consequences. There have been several cases where dissimilar protection levels were given to a patent holder in other countries not due to failure in meeting some of the criteria for the granting of patents but due to errors in translation. It can result in the ineligibility of the patent in favorable markets.
Patent Cooperation Treaty
The WIPO (World Industrial Property Organization) offers the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) for all member countries. With an initial single international patent application in one language, the inventor can have patent protection valid in about 148 countries. It facilitates the initial processing of the patent application but will also require accurate translation in different languages when the application reaches the national level. Day Translations understands that a patent under the PCT can be declared void or its coverage reduced in the national phase due to incorrect translations. We assure all our patent application clients that we provide the most accurate patent translation service in more than 100 languages.
The patent application process in Europe passes through its European Patent Office (EPO), which has 38 member countries. Protection for the patent is granted for all member nations. Applications must be filed in English, French or German. With a single application, patent protection is awarded in all the member countries.
Urgency in patent translation
Day Translations is aware of the legal implications of accurate translations and timing of a patent application. It is essential for the proper intellectual property rights management. We have developed an internal system with a team of translators who are experts in industrial and intellectual property who can handle the phases of services involved in the management of industrial property rights covering the entire cycle involved in gaining and maintaining a patent.
It is very easy for a patent application to be lost in translation, just like other documents. It is vital for any individual or business owners to understand the importance of patent translation when they are holding a patent.
Patent translation will help the patent owner to obtain patent rights in other countries. It will also help when new information is needed from a foreign patent.
When the patent owner files an application in a foreign country and it is granted, the inventor only has a short time to have the patent translated. In Japan for example, the translation must be submitted within two months from the date of the submission of the international application under the PCT. If the invention is to be marketed to different countries, the patent applicant must therefore prepare the individual translations into different target languages simultaneously.
Day Translations can help individual and business patent owners properly prepare their patent applications. You can reach us by phone (1-800-969-6853) or email (email@example.com) anytime, as we are open for business 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Image Copyright: zerbor / 123RF Stock Photo