Small Companies Can Get Big Patent Translation Benefits Too

Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 4.27.18 PMMichael Degn, vice president of global sales at MultiLing, takes a look at how small clients can receive the same IP translation benefits available to multinational enterprises by working through law firms that specialize in intellectual property services and foreign patent filings. This article appeared in IPFrontline magazine. 

ipfrontlinelogoFiling for patent protection on both a domestic and international scale can be challenging and expensive, especially for a small company only seeking protection for one or two patents. It’s even more so when these companies also need their patent applications to be translated into one or more languages. A viable solution is to find an IP law firm that partners with a patent translation service that is intimately familiar with the target languages, industry and individual laws and cultures of the countries in which protection is sought.

As part of the patent translation and application process, IP law firms create an environment that is friendlier to small companies with only a handful of patents filed per year and limited budgets. In most cases, they are able to cooperate on a more intimate basis and accomplish the client’s goals in a timely and relatively more price conscience manner. To accomplish this, IP law firms will often outsource patent translation services to provide small companies with the service they need in the languages they require – and all at an affordable price. For example, Brinks Gilson & Lione, a well-known American boutique IP law firm, hired a patent translation service provider to help a client – a small U.S. pharmaceutical company – validate its patent in several European countries. This route eliminated the need for foreign agents in each individual country, which can be more costly and difficult to manage.

How does this work?

An IP law firm can leverage the resources and best practices of its patent translation service provider in more jurisdictions than possible with one foreign agent, in part enabling patent rights in more geographic cases for the same cost – or even less. In fact, using this route, Brinks’ client could afford to validate its patent in 15 countries, five more than it originally planned, with the overall project still realizing savings of more than 30 percent.

What to look for in an IP Translation Service?

For a small company with a limited number of patents filed domestically and likely even fewer internationally, the protection and quality of the patents they do file become a key factor in the company’s success. This presents a conundrum to most small companies: they need both high quality and lower prices for international translation services than what can usually be provided through individual foreign agents located separately in each country in which they plan to file.

When looking for an IP law firm, the small company will benefit by choosing a firm that works with a patent translation service employing a streamlined model, as well as translators who are highly qualified native linguists, scientists, engineers and legal specialists. The streamlined process centralizes translation and other foreign patent filing tasks to interactive teams (i.e. translators, foreign agents, editors) that report to project owners, instead of the traditional model, where dozens of disconnected worldwide teams are each managed locally, without coordinated project management or cross-team collaboration.

The firm should also use advanced translation technologies – including terminology management, collaborative cross-language workflow and technology-assisted translation to ensure consistent and quality translations for your specific industry. Pairing human translation with these technologies gives law firms – and their clients – increased patent filings and validation for their budget, decreased office actions, reduced invalidation risk, and faster time to grant. By leveraging the patent translation service’s resources and best practices, the law firm can help its clients file in more jurisdictions than possible with one foreign agent, passing on the savings – and efficiencies – to the client.

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