Patent translation involves translating patent documentation into another language to make the invention accessible to the international market. With the global industry on the rise, businesses are competing on the worldwide market. Innovation is an essential factor that distinguishes one brand from the other. Hence, companies must obtain patent protection to protect innovative ideas from theft and gain a competitive edge globally.
Patents hold immense power, and besides providing territorial rights, they can also help companies gain exclusive rights in global jurisdictions through effective translations. Based on the nature of the document, there are three essential types of patent translations.
Patent translation for prior art documents to establish the invention’s novelty, patent translation for litigation proceedings, and patent translations for foreign filings is common. Maintaining the quality of translations is crucial, as poorly translated patents can be subjected to refusal. Since patent translation is a lengthy and challenging process, the applicant must observe specific standards to improve precision and avoid potential translation errors.
Patent applicants can get Patent Translation Services to streamline the process of patent translation, bring down costs, expand patent protection, and avoid litigations associated with problematic translations. When concerned with patent translations, the applicant must consider the following points.
Choosing The Right Patent Translator
The patent process involves writing highly technical reports using the correct terminology that details the invention in question. The patent office has set out rules that govern the language to be used in patent documentation. Similarly, when seeking protection internationally, specific laws govern the translation into the target language or TL. Hence, the translator needs to possess adequate expertise, linguistic skills, and technical specialization. For an accurate description of the invention, the translator must have specialized knowledge and should be able to conduct a detailed terminology search to define the structure and scope of the claims. Word-to-word literal translation is ineffective and leads to ambiguity.
The translator must know the subject they intend to translate, besides the knowledge of the language. If they lack adequate knowledge, it may lead to the inaccurate transfer of information and may affect the scope of protection. They must be aware of the writing style of claims set out by the patent office in the target jurisdiction. Claims will determine the limits of the invention and define the rights that the inventor can access regarding the invention.
Moreover, the patent translator must conduct searches such as FTO (freedom to operate) search and prior art search in multiple databases of target jurisdictions to determine if the translation has any trace of the prior art. The three main areas of knowledge in which the translator should excel in our technical expertise, language expertise—linguistics skills and legal expertise, and understanding the patent filing system.
Filing V/s Information Translations
The audience and purpose determine the difference between filing and information translation. Patent translated for filing purposes functions as an official record in the patent application process. Here the target audience examines the patent, namely legal professionals, patent officials, and patent licensees. ‘Patent translation for information’ functions as legal evidence in court proceedings for already filed patents.
Pitfalls Of Poor Translation
A single mistranslated term in patent documentation can significantly hamper the patent application process. It can lead to a prolonged and costly process to rectify the error and reissue the patent. Mistranslations can lead to the rejection of patent applications, trigger litigations, and significantly lengthen the process of getting it approved. It can jeopardize or slow down your entire patent filing process. The common casualties of poor translations include increased expenses, idea theft, inaccurate patent information, increased competition, legal consequences, and ineligibility to receive exclusive rights. The repercussion of the patent with translation errors can even open the door to litigation. Hence, while choosing the right translator, you should not select a linguist but grasp the key terms and essential terminology to be used in the patent while abiding by the legal and regulatory compliance processes to write effective translations.
Challenges in Patent Translation
The quality of patent translation should take into account several challenges. The process of terminology management is complex. It requires a high collaborative process involving the participation of functional teams across different departments globally. Hence, obtaining multi-lingual translations demand effective tracking of complete terminology change history, right from source term creation, use approval, to translation before reviewing it. Centralizing this process helps the translating team to collaborate, control, and develop the proper terminology pertinent to the concerned patent application. It facilitates the management of important invention terminology across different languages and functional departments.
Choosing the right translator will ensure the accuracy of your patent documentation, minimize the risk of not obtaining IP protection, and increase the ability to obtain patents. Accurately translation of patents helps in securing the same IP protection internationally as within the local jurisdiction. It can help companies to gain substantial competitive leverage in global markets.