Patent Translation: Good and Bad?


To apply for a patent globally, many countries such as China, Japan, Korea, Brazil, among many others require translations in their language, making it critical to have translations done in such a manner that the most appropriate and technically relevant translated words are used consistently, as the similar words may have different meanings and interpretations in different geographical locations. Expertise and experience are therefore must-have attributes to convey the meaning of any technical term in its desired form. Different countries have their own set of requirements for translations, and therefore if the translation is not done professionally, it could lead to misinterpretation of the scope of the claims, which may end up ruining the purpose of filing patents. Therefore, translations should always be done by professionals who understand the technology and can translate a document in a manner that is accurate and representative of the invention and claimed subject matter in context.

With the Patent Translation, it’s more than just a Google Translation. The importance lies with the meaning and nature of legal language associated with it. With a team of professionals across the world, GPF provides a start to end services for clients, worldwide.

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Good or Bad?

The Patent Translation if done badly can be costly for the applicant. If the patent claims are translated in a wrong manner, then there are chances that the claims might get narrowed or even get broadened. In any of the cases, it can be costly for the applicant in the case, any third party sues the applicant concerning the patent application. Undoubtedly the patent translation is a costly process and the cost comes up with its significance. It is highly advised for having a strong translator to avoid poor translation. Being a techno-legal document, using precise technical language is necessary and for that, the technical language must be translated to give perfect conjunction to the document. The translated patent must reflect the unambiguous technical and legal aspects. The translation if done in the best manner will help the applicant in any patent infringement case that might arise.


Requirements in Multiple Jurisdictions

Different countries have a different set of requirements that vary according to domestic laws. In Europe under Article 65(1) of the European Patent Convention, any contracting state may, if the European patent as granted, amended, or limited by the European Patent Office is not drawn up in one of its official languages, prescribe that the proprietor of the patent supply to its central industrial property office a translation of the patent as granted, amended or limited in one of that state’s official languages at his option or, where that state has prescribed the use of one specific official language, in that language. Similarly, under Article 1(1) of the London Agreement, a contracting state to the Agreement which has an official language in common with one of the official languages of the EPO will dispense with the translation requirements under Article 65(1) EPC.

Even in the PCT Rule 66 which talks about the Procedure before the International Preliminary Examining Authority, Rule 66.7 speaks about the Copy and Translation of the Earlier Application. If the application whose priority is claimed in the international application is in a language other than the language or one of the languages of the International Preliminary Examining Authority, that Authority may, where the validity of the priority claim is relevant for the formulation of the opinion referred to in Article 33(1), invite the applicant to furnish a translation in the said language or one of the said languages within two months from the date of the invitation. If the translation is not furnished within that time limit, the international preliminary examination report may be established as if the priority had not been claimed.

35 U.S.C. 119 talks about the benefit of the earlier filing date and the right to priority which even talks about the translation that is required, if the document is not in English. Also in 35 U.S.C. 371(c)(2), a similar need for translation has been reiterated. In India, under Rule 20 of Indian Patent Rules 2003, the translation requirement is specified if the application is not in English.

Author: Saransh Chaturvedi an associate at Global Patent Filing,  in case of any queries please contact/write back us at

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