According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), nearly 100,000 pharmaceutical and biotechnology patent applications are filed each year around the world, and the trend is increasing. These companies have very little room for error in the work they conduct each day, even with stagnant budgets and an increased filing demand.
In the first 2014 issue of the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology, Jeremy Coombs, senior vice president of operations at MultiLing, outlines a case study of how one of MultiLing’s biotech clients is able to file hundreds of patents annually in 30+ countries by partnering with MultiLing and leveraging its centralized translation model. The company has research facilities in North America, Europe and Asia, and spends billions of dollars a year inventing procedures, chemical compounds and products. They hold one of the world’s largest patent portfolios with 35,000 patents.
In 2001, the company faced a major decision: find ways to cut costs or reduce the number of foreign patent filings. A critical component of patent filings is translation, which at the time accounted for nearly 40 percent of the company’s international prosecution costs. These costs were rising, while markets and foreign jurisdictions continued to expand. The company knew it needed to make some dramatic changes.
Until this point, the biotechnology company sent its patents to foreign agents, independent translators and other administrative personnel around the globe. This resulted in non-uniform and decentralized processes associated with relying on an ever-expanding network of in-country patent law firms for patent translation. These firms often justified high fees based on the sensitivity of translation projects, and the rarity of translators with the specialized technical education and expertise required for the subjects being translated.
The complexity of using multiple law firms added to the company’s administrative overhead, and increased error risks associated with too many people handling documents.
With the goal of reducing cost, risk and complexity, the company required the following:
• Translators must be in the target country, native speaking and vetted for subject matter expertise and quality
• Translators must have patent specific experience and technical knowledge in the technical subject matter area being translated
• The company must own and control its language IP and terminology must be managed from a centralized location
• The company must reduce overall patent prosecution costs by 20 percent
Other factors considered during the company’s search for a translation provider: a centralized point of contact; terminology management for the proper and consistent use of company- and industry-specific terminology across all languages; translation memory for the reuse of previously translated text; and, coordinated quality assurance oversight.
Successfully Incorporating a New Provider
The biotech company turned to MultiLing and its centralized translation model for a solution. As MultiLing became a trusted partner, additional processes were streamlined. Now, as soon as a translation request arises, the service provider is electronically informed and can immediately start the translation process. With targeted translation software and 24/7 online access, the service provider schedules and tracks the lifecycle of each project and the biotechnology company receives status updates in real time.
During the past six years, more than 300 dedicated translators have translated more than 83 million words related to more than 2,500 cases filed in more than 30 countries. Since 2002, MultiLing has captured more than 100,000 unique concepts in the client’s language database, which provides the biotechnology company with highly visible and usable data for making decisions, and absolute control over its language IP.
The multi-year, large-scale project (performed by both the biotechnology company and MultiLing) streamlined the company’s patent translation and foreign filing process. Specifically, this process has
• Reduced time to grant and litigation risk, as well as:
• Produced approximately twice the number of international filings due to increased efficiencies, while budgets remained relatively flat—40 percent of this efficiency was directly attributed to MultiLing
• Reduced administrative, maintenance and data handling costs
• Shortened turnaround time through leverage of previous translations—the client has never missed a filing deadline due to a translation
• Reduced risk of errors: error rates exceed ISO standards
• Increased employee satisfaction: translation docket management was eliminated and two full-time employees have been reassigned to higher value work
• Eliminated soft costs such as translation-related office actions
• Reduced Foreign Agent review of translated claims—the client demonstrated that if the English source document is correct, the target language translations will be accurate
• Exceeded its goal of lowering overall patent prosecution costs by 20 percent
In summary, more patents are being filed internationally at significant savings to the client, with higher quality, lower risk and less burden on its staff.
For more information on MultiLing’s centralized translation services for your company’s IP, visithttp://www.multiling.com.