for patent attorneys?
- Where the specification of a European patent, which benefits from unitary effect has been published in accordance with Article 14(6) of the EPC, no further translations shall be required. (Art. 3)
- In infringement proceedings the patent proprietor must provide at the request and the choice of an alleged infringer, a full translation of the specification into an official language of the country in which the alleged infringement took place or the alleged infringer’s domicile. At the request of a court hearing an infringement dispute, the patent proprietor shall provide a full translation of the patent into the language used by that court. (Art. 4)
- Given that European patent applications may be filed in a non-working language of the EPO (i.e. not English, French or German), the Member States participating in the unitary patent regime entrust the EPO with administering a compensation scheme. The compensation scheme, funded by renewal fees, reimburses all translation costs up to a ceiling, for such individual/SME/non-profit/university applicants who file in one of the official languages of the Union that is not working language of the EPO. (Art. 5)
- During a transitional period lasting up from 6 to 12 years (depending on when an expert group deems the quality of machine translations to be satisfactory) the proprietor will be obliged to file a full translation of the specification for information purposes only into English (if the language of proceedings is French or German) or into any other official language of the Union (if the language of proceedings is English). (Art. 6)
- Entry into force of these provisions was to occur on the later of 1 January 2014 or 20 days from the date of entry into force of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court. (Art. 7)
|Coverage wanted in every country? |
For Risk, yes; for patents, only maybe
The Kingdom of Spain claims that the Council infringed the principle of legal certainty. First, the contested regulation limits access to information for economic operators, since the specification of the EPUE is published only in the language of the proceedings, to the exclusion of other official languages of the EPO. Next, the contested regulation does not specify the arrangements, pertaining to language or otherwise, for the grant of the EPUE. Further, the contested regulation does not indicate, in the context of administration of the compensation scheme, either the costs ceiling or how compensation is to be determined. Moreover, the provisions of Article 4 of that regulation are not sufficient to offset the lack of information relating to the EPUE. A translation of the EPUE provided in the event of a dispute has no legal value and Article 4 does not set out the specific consequences of the possibility that an infringer of a patent has acted in good faith. Last, a machine translation system did not exist when the contested regulation was adopted and there is no guarantee that such a system can function in an area where accurate translation is of fundamental importance.