Tag Archives: MultiLing

EP Validation Primer: A More Efficient Process for European Patents

IPFrontline-scaled-logoMultiLing CEO Michael Sneddon recently authored an article for IP Frontline on how to best manage the patent application process for European patents using the European Patent Office (EPO) system. Filing a patent with the EPO is a unified first step, but then the approved application must also be validated in each member country where protection is sought. Validation requires patent translation services and effective management of deadlines.

There is just a brief three-month period when the national validations must be accompanied – in all but a handful of countries – by translated patent claims or full patent specifications in an official language of the respective country. This time-consuming and complex task can involve working with up to 40 different European agents, depending on the number of countries where validation is sought.

MultiLing_Michael_Sneddon“By consolidating the work of managing deadlines and translations to interactive and specialized teams that report to a single project owner, the validation process is simplified for the applicant, more consistent across all jurisdictions and much less costly than if isolated foreign agents worked on the project in multiple EPO countries,” explains Sneddon.

For more details and tips on effectively and efficiently translating and validating patents in Europe, you can link to the full article here.

Basic Tips for IP Translations in Asian Languages

© Toa555 | Dreamstime.com - Asian Lanterns Photo

© Toa555 | Dreamstime.com – Asian Lanterns Photo

Translating to and from Asian languages such as Chinese, Japanese and Korean, has a unique set of challenges. A 2013 study conducted by the Steinbeis Transfer Institute of Stuttgart, Germany, showed that patent errors happen most often with these Asian languages. While not impossible to overcome the challenges of IP translations into Asian languages, enterprises currently seeking to do business in these Asian countries often experience years of lost revenue due to longer time-to-grant for their patents, more office actions and limited scopes of patent rights.

IPFrontline-scaled-logoIn a recent article published in IP Frontline, Adam Bigelow, Asia regional director for MultiLing, outlines several tips for filing patents in each of the countries.

“Having an expert in each country that not only knows the language, but also the culture and filing process of each country – including where to find case histories and related art – is critical. Those filing for patent protection, however, should be familiar with key requirements in these three countries to facilitate patent protection.”

Find the full article here.

IP Index Correlates Strong IP Protection with Thriving Economies

While people continue to debate whether patents spur or stifle innovation, the recently published 2015 International IP Index from the Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce draws correlations between strong IP protections and thriving innovative economies. Namely:

  • Economies with robust IP environments yield 50 percent more innovative output compared to countries with IP regimes in need of improvement.
  • Economies with favorable IP regimes employ more than half their workforce in knowledge-intensive sectors.
  • Companies in economies with advanced IP systems are 40 percent more likely to invest in R&D.
  • Economies with beneficial IP protection see 9-10 times more life sciences investment than countries with weak IP protections.

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MultiLing Sees 33 Percent Growth in 2014, Plans To Continue Trajectory in 2015

2014 was a great year for MultiLing — one that accomplished many goals and moved us in the direction we want to be going. The most universal measure of this success is revenue growth — and MultiLing saw 33 percent growth in 2014.


  • Expanded its Asia region capability with an increased physical presence in Taiwan, China, Japan and Korea.
  • Increased corporate headquarters’ office space by 25 percent.
  • Solidified executive team—including David Urry, chief financial officer; Michael Degn, vice president of sales; and a strong team of next-level managers.
  • Invested in new technologies and processes to give clients the quality legal translations they require.
  • Achieved ISO 9001:2008 certification, the internationally recognized set of quality management standards from the International Organization of Standardization. (At the same time, we also renewed our EN 15038:2006 certification, the European quality standard for translation services.)
  • Acquired more than 1,000 additional scientific translators to better meet the needs of Global 500 legal teams across the globe.

We’re looking forward to more great progress in 2015!


MultiLing Attracts New Clients, Translators at Japan Patent Fair

Every year, more than 20,000 IP professionals gather at the Science Museum in the heart of Tokyo to learn about best practices in the world of intellectual property. The 2014 Patent Information Fair & Conference was held on Nov. 3-5 and is the Japan’s largest exhibition on the latest patent, product and technology information relating to intellectual property.

Megumi Hasegawa, MultiLing country manager for Japan, and Adam Bigelow, director, MultiLing's Asia Region, at the Japan Patent Fair & Conference.

Megumi Hasegawa, MultiLing country manager for Japan, and Adam Bigelow, director, MultiLing’s Asia Region, at the Japan Patent Fair & Conference.

This year marks MultiLing’s fourth year of participation in this energetic event. Our booth was visited by current clients and many potential clients — ranging from massive conglomerates to smaller, specialized patent offices, as well as highly qualified translators.

Adam Bigelow had the opportunity to share MultiLing best practices for IP translation services in the form of a presentation on Wednesday afternoon. The workshop was well attended by representatives from corporations, patent agencies and freelance translators.

People and a Reputation for Quality are our Greatest Assets: An Interview with MultiLing CFO David Urry

David Urry, MultiLing CFO, joined the company in March of this year and went straight to work on maximizing and strengthening MultiLing’s financial systems. Here’s what he has to say about his new role.

What attracted you to MultiLing? 

MultiLing seemed like a perfect combination of things I have done and love—translation and technology. I have a background in engineering, as well as some experience translating into Farsi, so I had an initial feeling this could be a really interesting place for me. I found the opportunity to use my expertise in finance to help a company grow in an industry that’s both intriguing and exciting. Furthermore, I’ve found MultiLing to be an organization that is interested in social success as well as financial success, and that is important to me.

What background and expertise do you bring to MultiLing? 

MultiLing CEO Michael Sneddon’s great vision has significantly altered the translation process from the early days when I personally participated in the industry. What is more, the team at MultLing has been significantly strengthened over the past few years and I am excited to apply my expertise in financial modeling and data gathering to accelerate MultiLing’s growth even more. I have always loved finding ways to optimize processes and increase throughput and have applied my skills in this area at Hewlett Packard, American Airlines and Medicity (which was bought by Aetna). At each organization I’ve helped management decide how to best use their resources and that’s what I plan to do for MultiLing.

What was your first impression of MultiLing?

When I first interviewed with Michael Sneddon, members of the management team and a board member, I genuinely liked them and could tell that they liked each other. There is a uniquely genuine concern for the individual, personally as well as professionally. There is a great commonality of purpose across the team and we operate extremely cohesively.

What did you do on your first day at MultiLing?

On the first day, I spent the entire time talking to each of the executives to gain insight into their needs and expectations of me. The second day was even more fun as I sat with each member of my accounting team and experienced first hand the processes and tools that were in place to help them accomplish their work. I found that both teams have been extremely diligent, but I also walked away with a much clearer picture of the opportunity to jump in and make an impact

What do you feel are your greatest strengths? 

It’s always fun to write a graduation speech or your own obituary. That said, my parents taught me some very important lessons that contributed to my desire to always look for ways to improve things and to hopefully make a lasting impact on organizations and people. My mother taught me that there is nothing you can’t do if you make up your mind to do it. My father provided the laboratory for me to prove that hypothesis. From the time that I was in middle school, until midway through my undergraduate program, my dad and I worked together restoring antique furniture—specializing in player pianos. Rebuilding a player piano involved removing hundreds of screws, hundreds of feet of tubing and parts, rebuilding each of those parts and reinstalling each of them and all of the tubing that connects them. It was a very detailed process that shaped my ability to multitask and to optimize processes.

What is your leadership style? 

I believe strongly in creating vision and staying out of the way. Great leadership happens when you understand people’s needs and then help them identify how they can address those needs. The downstream effects of teaching people how to change their own circumstance and environment is phenomenal. After meeting with my accounting team, I immediately went to work and automated one of their least desirable tasks. As I did this, I showed my controller how I was doing it and why. Once he saw what could be done, he and his team proactively implemented more improvements on their own. I have such great people to work with, it’s easy to lead by example and then let them do what they excel at. I also believe it’s important to take time to “sharpen your saw” or improve your tools and return with renewed energy.

What is your vision for growing MultiLing? 

As CFO, I feel it is my responsibility to provide valuable data so people can make good decisions without a lot of management overhead. The data will help us streamline our processes and improve our margins. It will allow our sales team to go into sales opportunities knowing the client better than the client knows itself and knowing how to negotiate partnership agreements that will not erode MultiLing’s value or our offering. While there is much discussion about Big Data, the key is the information that gets created from the data! So, my vision for growing MultiLing is to extract and utilize the data created in our proprietary processes to optimize our capacity, production and growth.

There are challenges that come from growth. What do you see as some of MultiLing’s challenges and how do you plan to manage them? 

Our two greatest assets are our people and our reputation for quality. The investment dollars raised last year were a direct result of the investors’ confirmation of those assets. We will continue to focus on both of these assets and continue to build long-term relationships with our employees, vendors, clients and investors.

Welcome, David!


lyle ballI ran into a client at the airport not long ago and asked how things were going. I was pleased to hear his complete satisfaction with MultiLing services and our relationship. I asked if there was anything more we could work on and he replied tongue-in-cheek that maybe we could give his company a better price. I asked if he was sure — did he really want to pay less for something that was going so well and providing so much value? Recognizing the impact his wish could have, he quickly agreed that he really didn’t want to pay less.

Price versus quality is an ongoing tension in most business relationships and in this IP Frontline article, titled “The Real Cost of Accurate IP Translations,” I outline several ways MultiLing clients receive value from accurate translations—far beyond the words on the page.


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 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.

The Steinbeis study further revealed that 80 percent of people directly involved in patent filing have also dealt with translation errors, a statistic confirmed by a show of hands of audience members at the presentation in China. How did translation errors impact the cost of patents? Again, according to Steinbeis, the cost of translation errors came from:

  • Waiting longer for a patent to be granted due to office actions,
  • The latent risk of an unenforceable patent,
  • Additional internal and external costs,
  • The disappointing result of having to limit the number of patents filed due to unexpected costs that exceed budget.

The dilemma is real: Accurate translations are imperative, not just nice to have, and yet the cost of accurate translations can also limit the jurisdictions where an inventor can file.

Transition to a Streamlined Translation Model

The answer to this no-win scenario is a new model for defining and producing quality IP translations—a model that enables filers to better manage and reduce the overall cost of their patent portfolio, while improving scientific and legal accuracy.

Traditionally, original patent applications are sent to regional law firms for “processing,” which includes translation as one of the filing services. Patent owners have little say in the cost and quality of translation. Law firms rarely—if ever—have enough translation business to maintain an active pool of translators and reviewers with sufficient scientific and local market expertise, or to invest in technology to enhance this process. In addition, their translators have little capacity to interact with translators in other jurisdictions or directly with the client. The translation results regularly prompt office actions due to translation errors and clarity issues, increase the risk of litigation and create inconsistency across multiple language translations of the same patent. No wonder the costs are high. Yet, the Steinbeis study concludes that half of all organizations still use this traditional model for foreign patent filing and another 34 percent use this model in conjunction with other processes.

Fifteen years ago, MultiLing worked with one of its largest enterprise clients, Procter & Gamble, to overhaul this process. The result is a centralized, streamlined process for patent translation that can be applied to Global 500 legal teams and is being adopted, by both legal teams and patent translation service providers, as a superior method for creating quality and efficiency. Essentially, patent translation is managed by one translation company, with global operations centralized by technology and is performed at the beginning of the application process. This allows for several benefits:

  • Law firms and foreign agents can focus on legal work,
  • Clients receive quality translations from translators who are not only highly skilled in language, but also have technical expertise in the client’s field,
  • Clients benefit from technology investments that improve translation process, quality and security, and create efficiencies over time with terminology management and translation memories.

As an example, MultiLing has been able to invest more than $10 million in its technology solutions – an amount no single translator or foreign agent contracting with translators would likely afford.

Another MultiLing client, a manufacturing company in Japan, believed it could improve how its IP department operated. Its stated goals were to eliminate office actions related to translation, reduce the patent time-to-grant by three months and reduce the total cost of owning the patents by 10 percent. After six months of incorporating MultiLing’s streamlined model for translation, the company had filed 183 patents in eight jurisdictions. Twelve translators had translated 2 million characters and contributed 5,200 terms to the manufacturer’s database. Results attributable to MultiLing’s translation process and quality were:

  • The elimination of translation and clarity-related office actions,
  • Time to grant was reduced by six months—double the goal,
  • The company’s total cost of patent ownership was reduced by 30 percent—three times the goal.

Quality Qualifications

The final element critical to any translation model is quality. Several criteria must be met for an IP translation to be considered high quality and these criteria go far beyond words with the requisite technical and scientific accuracy. Quality IP translations support:

  • Project timelines with reduced office actions and faster time to grant,
  • Project budgets with a lower total cost of ownership for patent strategy at an enterprise or law firm,
  • Protection of your IP with the absence of opposition or invalidation of patents due to translation issues.

A streamlined translation model can address all these quality issues by eliminating the most frequent reasons translation errors happen in the first place. The people + process + technology equation available with a dedicated IP translation partner brings the skills of native-language scientists and engineers with a knowledge of patent prosecution. The workflow of document translation in a streamlined model includes agreeing on definitions of quality by all parties—basically, how accurate the client expects the work to be depending on the purpose of the translation—and a stringent quality control process. Finally, technologies create consistent translations to express the same idea and intent across multiple languages and documents, again helping to increase overall quality and eliminate the cost—in both time and money—of office actions and even the invalidation of the patent.

When you truly identify and budget for the real benefits, threats and costs of IP translations, such as those outlined above, a streamlined model for translation makes the most sense for any size company.

The Role of Outsourced Services

Last week we posted about the first part of an article in Inside Counsel where Jeff Ranck, MultiLing board member, was interviewed about his experience as associate general counsel at Microsoft.

Screen Shot 2014-01-09 at 10.16.54 AMIn parts 2 and 3 of his article, Rich Steeves, Inside Counsel senior editor, looks at outsourced services for an IP department, one of which is quality translations of patent applications and other IP documentation.

The key, says Ranck, is to “start at the bottom and build it up,” in terms of the types of work to outsource. His team asked two questions to help identify which assignments to outsource:

  1. If we could be assured that it would be handled competently, what work would we be willing to give away?

Most work is repeatable and you can apply process management techniques to that work. The team felt confident giving away certain duties, so from that point, it was a matter of figuring out the process and finding the best place to acquire services at the best price point.

  1. If we had extra resources, what would we do that we aren’t doing now, to add value?

The answer to this question became the basis of the work the team kept in house. Instead of simply adding more people—internal or external—to file more patents, this question helped them add strategic value to their efforts. The team turned its attention to making sure all of its data was correct. Attorneys who had spent a great deal of time working on process matters filled their time with client counseling. Attorneys now had the ability to deliver more high-level work.

jeff ranckFrom his experience building and managing outsource partners, Ranck also identified several best practices, a few of which are highlighted here:

  • Differentiate yourself from other clients: visit, offer trainings, develop a team identity

“We had 150 people in India who worked for Microsoft,” said Ranck regarding how the outsourced teams referred to themselves. Sharing your culture with outsource partners can help reinforce positive attitudes and improve work outcomes.

  • Assume no turn-key services, but build processes with the vendor instead

“Critical to our success was to find a partner without preconceived notions of what we needed, who could figure out how to build our value chain, coming in and building the types of services we wanted to match the goals we had,” said Ranck.

  • Take a long-term approach and create your own “best” vendor

“Our outsourced vendors were true partners,” said Ranck, while also noting that It’s difficult to build reliance on external people. “We needed to make sure our relationships were strong and that trust was embedded in the way we did things.“

Two years after the initiative began, Microsoft had tripled its patent filings and only increased its internal headcount slightly. More importantly, they only had a 20 percent overall budget increase, mainly driven by more filing fees.

As an IP outsourcing vendor for patent translation and related filing services, MultiLing strives to build these best practices into its client relationships. By removinga lot of the process from the client, they are free to put their expertise to work on strategically managing their patent portfolios. As relationships are built over time, clients come to trust MultiLing’s efforts and work with us to build solutions that meet their unique needs, and they ultimately share additional responsibilities with our translation teams. We value our client relationships and are committed to helping clients succeed with high integrity patent protection and a lower total cost of patent ownership.


MultiLing Director Jeff Ranck On Getting More Bang For Your IP Buck

jeff ranckInside Counsel recently interviewed MultiLing board member Jeff Ranck about his experience as associate general counsel at Microsoft. While there, the company went from filing 1,000 patents per year to 3,000 per year. Realizing that this couldn’t be done by just adding more headcount, Ranck and his colleagues went to work revamping how their department operated and streamlining their patent filing processes.

A major initiative in the reorganization was to use outsource partners. However, they took a measured approach by identifying what work was best to outsource, identifying partners who could immediately provide value and who would grow with them.

Screen Shot 2014-01-09 at 10.16.54 AMAs an IP outsourcing company, MultiLing benefits from Ranck’s expertise in streamlining patent filing processes. In addition to its expert IP translations, MultiLing brings value to its clients by building streamlined processes that lower the total overall cost of patent ownership. The partnerships it builds with its customers grow to long-term relationships that benefit both MultiLing and its partners.

Read Part 1 of the Inside Counsel article here — Part 2 is coming soon.



Meet with MultiLing

MultiLing representatives are participating in a variety of events this quarter and we’d love to see you! Contact us at request @ multiling.com to make an appointment at one of the following shows:

AIPLA | Washington, D.C. | Oct. 23-25 | Booth 17

Patent Information Fair | Tokyo, Japan | Nov. 5-7

IP Service World | Munich, Germany | Nov. 24-25
ML_AIPLA booth_2013