The European Patent Office (EPO) has signed a deal with Google that will see the EPO 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 those originating in other regions of the world that enjoy protection in Europe.
The collaboration aims to offer faster 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 that is relevant to their research projects.
’The partnership with Google to create machine translation tools for patents will help inventors, engineers and research teams to retrieve relevant documents efficiently − in their own language − from our wealth of published patent information,’ said EPO president Benoît Battistelli.