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EU Commission proposes translation arrangements for future EU Patent

2010 | 07 | 15 The Commission puts a special focus on patent translation and has prepared a proposal for a Council Regulation on translation arrangements for European patents. Research project PLuTO, in which the IRF partners with DCU, ESTeam, Crosslanguage, and WON is specifically mentioned in the official text of the proposal from the Commission to the Council.

The full text of the proposal can be found here:

Excerpts from:

Proposal for a
COUNCIL REGULATION (EU) on the translation arrangements for the European Union patent

(30 June 2010)

"The Commission proposes that EU Patents will be examined and granted in one of the official languages of the EPO - English, French or German. The granted patent will be published in this language which will be the authentic (i.e. legally binding) text. The publication will include translations of the claims into the other two EPO official languages. The claims are the section of the patent defining the scope of protection of the invention.

No further translations into other languages will be required from the patent proprietor except in the case of a legal dispute concerning the EU patent. In this case, the patent proprietor may be required to provide further translations at his or her own expense.

The Commission's proposal also sets out accompanying measures to be agreed in order to make the patent system more accessible to innovators. First, high quality machine translations of EU patents into all official languages of the EU should be made available. Inventors in Europe will therefore have better access to technical information on patents in their native language. In addition, in order to facilitate access to the EU patent for applicants from countries in the EU that have a language other than English, French or German among their official languages, inventors will have the possibility to file applications in their own language. The costs for the translation into the language of proceedings of the EPO (to be chosen from English, French or German by the applicant when they file the application) will be eligible for reimbursement."

"Necessary arrangements shall be made between the European Union and the EPO to make  machine translations of patent applications and patent specifications available in all official  languages of the European Union without additional costs for the applicants. Such translations  should be available on demand, online and free of charge on publication of the patent  application. They would be provided for purposes of patent information and would not have  legal effect. This would be made clear to users through an appropriate disclaimer. Contrary to  the current practice where translations are provided several months after grant – when they  are less needed and rarely consulted - their early availability could significantly improve the  dissemination of patent information, in particular for individual inventors, researchers and  innovative SMEs. The machine translation programme will aim to deliver high quality  translations based on technical standards including electronic dictionaries with vocabulary  linked to the international patent classification system.
High quality machine translations have already been developed by the EPO in a limited  number of languages. The Commission is also supporting a project for machine translations  (Patent Language Translations Online, PLuTO)19, which involves developing translation  software on the basis of patent documentation covering all official languages of the EU  Member States over the next five years. The creation of the EU patent would necessitate the  acceleration of work and the roll-out of such a programme covering all EU languages. The  implementing provisions applicable to the machine translation system would have to be  established by the Select Committee of the Administrative Council of the EPO composed of  representatives of the EU and all Member States."