The Real Cost of Accurate IP Translations

IP Frontline

By Lyle Ball

With global patent activity increasing, especially to and from Asian language markets, translation errors in patent applications are increasingly wreaking havoc. Companies of all sizes value the need to file patents in multiple jurisdictions to protect their IP, especially the resulting global revenue those patents generate. When it comes to obtaining quality IP translations necessary to file the patent in multiple foreign jurisdictions, however, many filers are shocked by the costs and disappointed that this expense will likely limit the scope of their filing strategy.

The problem with this view is perspective. As I shared recently at the IP and Innovation Summit 2014 in China, there’s a strong case for how investing in accurate quality translations can actually increase global IP protection and revenue, while reducing the overall cost of patent ownership.

With global patent activity increasing, especially to and from Asian language markets, translation errors in patent applications are increasingly wreaking havoc on both the prosecution process and enforcing the patent-and often the weaknesses do not surface for many years, which creates a ticking time bomb in your patent portfolio. To support this fact, three countries the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) reports as having the most patent applications received-China, the United States and Japan-are also home to the three languages recently reported as having the most patent errors related to translation. According to a study published in November 2013 by the Steinbeis-Transfer-Institute Intellectual Property Management of Munich, translating to Asian languages from Western languages, and vice versa, represents the most difficult translations.

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