At a glance
Despite the introduction of the London Agreement in Europe, the translation burden when seeking patent validation is still very heavy. When filing in a national patent office in Europe that has yet to accede to the agreement, translation is required in the language of that country. Even then, countries which have joined can still request a translation of the claims in their official language.
These translations come at significant cost, up to €680 per EU patent, and are often prohibitive to individual inventors and Small- and Medium-Size Enterprises (SMEs). This flies in the face of the European Union's initiatives to foster innovation and growth throughout the community and build stronger knowledge economies.
Additionally, there has been a significant increase in IP activity globally over the last number of years, particularly in Asia. Between 2004 and 2009, just under 50% of all patent applications worldwide came from China, Japan, and South Korea. In the same period, China experienced a 16.1% growth in the number of filings. The consequence of this is that greater amounts of prior art now exist in a language foreign to patent searchers and examiners, thus creating additional translation needs.
PLuTO will develop a rapid solution for patent translation by integrating a number of existing components and adapting them to the relevant domains and languages. The Centre for Next Generation Localisation brings to the target platform a state-of-the-art machine translation engine, MaTrEx, which exploits hybrid statistical, example-based and hierarchical techniques and has demonstrated high quality translation performance in a number of recent evaluation campaigns. ESTeam contributes a comprehensive translation software environment to the project, including server-based, multi-layered, multi-domain translation memory technology. PLuTO will also exploit the use-case holistic machine translation expertise of Cross Language, who have significant experience in the evaluation of machine translation, while WON will be directly involved in all phases of development, providing valuable user feedback. The consortium also intends to continue collaborating closely with patent offices and IP organisations to draw from their experience in this area.
PLuTO will result in an online patent translation service that will provide an automated patent translation capability across multiple patent search systems (e.g. Espacenet, PatBase, USPTO) leveraging integration of advanced Machine Translation and Translation Memory technology with personalised, tailored vocabulary and terminology management for patent professionals. These solutions can increase productivity in patent search processes and will help to significantly reduce translation costs, giving rise to a more inclusive innovation society with diminished language barriers.