|"No wonder it won't work", said Professor Prout,|
"one of the French irregular verbs has broken loose"
"The European Patent Office (EPO) and Google have ... signed a Memorandum of Understanding to improve access to patent translations in multiple languages.The IPKat welcomes anything and everything that will make patent documents more widely accessible. However, he notes that nothing is said about how Google, which is not known for its philanthropic contributions to the wellbeing of international institutions such as patent-granting authorities, is going to monetise this arrangement. Are translated terms and the interrelationship of those terms with the names of companies and inventors going to be filtered into Adsense software and other means of targeting prospective consumers?
Under the envisaged collaboration, the EPO will use Google's machine translation technology to translate patents into the languages of the 38 countries that it serves. In return, it will provide Google with access to its translated patents, enabling Google to optimise its machine translation technology. Google technology will be used to translate patents originating in Europe as well as patents originating in other regions of the world and enjoying protection in Europe.
The collaboration aims to offer faster and cheaper fit-for-purpose [this begs the question: "which purpose?" It seems to the IPKat that patents are read for more than one reason] translations of patents for companies, inventors and scientists in Europe. Today, anyone wishing to register a patent must do so in one of the EPO's official languages - English, French and German. They then need to arrange for translation of the patent - at their own cost - into the languages of all countries in which they wish the patent to apply. This complexity means that many European patents are not available in all national languages or legally binding in all the EPO's member states. Similarly, anyone searching for information in patents published in foreign languages finds it difficult to retrieve data relevant to their research projects.
"The European Patent Office is one of the largest providers of free information on state-of-the-art technology disclosed in patents from around the globe. The partnership with Google to create machine translation tools for patents will help inventors, engineers and R+D teams to retrieve relevant documents efficiently - in their own language - from our wealth of published patent information. This agreement with Google puts the EPO at the forefront of efforts to strengthen the patent system's international character and improve its quality for the benefit of the global economy," said EPO President Benoît Battistelli.[Merpel is always amused at the way in which matters pertaining to patent law are said to be beneficial to the global economy. One wonders how the global economy ever managed in the past, particularly since patents seem to be irrelevant to the economy in so many parts of the globe]
The collaboration also aims to facilitate the decision process of the EU states in their attempt to simplify the introduction of a single pan-European patent [Does this mean that it's going to be opposed?]. While the EPO provides a common entry point to obtain patents throughout Europe, patent owners must still validate and, where necessary, translate patents in each individual EU country. As a result, obtaining Europe-wide patent protection is significantly more expensive than in markets such as the US. A single EU patent could reduce costs and enhance legal certainty [Please can someone explain how a single EU patent is more legally certain than several national patents? The criteria of patentability and revocation aren't being changed, are they? ], giving businesses and innovators unified protection for their inventions.
For Google, the collaboration offers a major opportunity to improve its translation service. The EPO will offer access to around 1.5 million documents, and each year this number grows by more than 50 000 new patent grants [how does translating patent documents improve Google's translation service more than translating non-patent documents, wonders Merpel]. The partnership also covers Asian languages. Facilitating access to the rapidly increasing volumes of Japanese, Chinese and Korean technological information is one of the biggest challenges facing the global patent system.
"This collaboration is exciting for both Google and Europe. It will help to increase access to information for all Europeans, supporting the innovation process and allowing the European economy to strengthen its competitiveness," said Carlo d'Asaro Biondo, Google's Vice President of Sales for Southern and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa. "It demonstrates how private companies can work with public institutions to find innovative solutions to difficult issues."
Merpel says, when are they going to invent a device that translates English-language patent documents into English too?
Cat language here
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