The UK-IPO has announced an "informal consultation" on a proposed Welsh language scheme, as promised in the recent consultation on the new Patent Rules (see previous IPKat posts here and here). Views on the consultation are invited, and should be sent to the Office by 14 August 2007. Of particular relevance to IP practitioners are the following paragraphs:
49. We accept applications in Welsh for patents, trademarks and designs, and we will make the relevant forms and guidance available in Welsh on our website.
50. The Trade Mark and Design Registrar will commission a translation of filings in Welsh into English for placing on the public record alongside the original. This translation will be agreed with the applicant in advance of publication, as will any subsequent amendments made. The agreed translation will be considered by the Registrar to be equivalent to the Welsh filed.
51. Welsh patent applications will be processed in the same way as soon as the necessary changes to the Patents Rules come into effect. These changes are in hand and are likely to take effect during late 2007. Until then, any applicant who files a patent application in Welsh must subsequently provide a translation into English and any subsequent correspondence must also be in English.
52. In our capacity as a Receiving Office under the European and international Patent systems and for the Community Trade Mark and Design System, applications must be in one of a limited number of official languages, of which English is one but Welsh is not. However, international patent applications in Welsh are likely to be permitted by the changes to the Patents Rules mentioned in paragraph 51. European applications in Welsh will be permitted by the coming into force of the revised European Patent Convention, EPC 2000, no later than 13 December 2007. In both cases it will be necessary to file a translation in one of the official languages within a set time period so that all further processing can be performed in an official language, as required by the relevant international agreements.
The IPKat's previous fears of patents being granted in Welsh appear to have been allayed by the UK-IPO's generous offer to "commission a translation" of Welsh applications, presumably for the benefit of the majority of UK subjects not familiar with the language. It will therefore apparently be possible to prosecute and grant a UK patent application in Welsh. Whether this will be of use to any serious applicants is yet to be determined.