The translation of a PCT application forms the basis of an IP owner’s rights. Jeffrey Shieh of inovia explains why those wishing to file in foreign countries should make sure their translations are up to parA patent translation should meet all of the following criteria:
· It should be a true and accurate translation of the source document.
The translator should be a native speaker of the destination language.
· The translator should be technically skilled in the relevant technology.
· It should take into account any specialist legal language used by patent attorneys in the destination country, including idiomatic translation of special technical or legal words used in the source document.
· It should satisfy local formal requirements such as character set, font size, spacing, and margins.
Translations prepared by anyone other than a specialist patent translator run the risk of significant deficiencies in some or all of the above areas.
For example, it is rare that even a person skilled in the relevant technical field, who writes well in the target language and who has a good understanding of the source language, will have any knowledge of the legal language issues, or of the formalities.
Any weakness or deficiency in the translation will be reflected as a weakness or deficiency in the resulting protection. What is worse is that the IP owner won't know about it until it's too late.
In many countries, the translation of a PCT application is a major component of the cost for national stage entry. As such, translation costs play a key role when applicants decide where to seek patent protection.
To stretch their IP budget, as well as outsourcing translation work, IP owners should also file in countries which can use the same translation. For example, assuming an English specification, a translation into Spanish required to enter Mexico can also be used for entry into Colombia and other Spanish-speaking South and Latin American countries.
Similarly, a Chinese translation prepared for use with a Taiwanese filing can often be used as a basis for a translation needed for China. However, as Taiwan is not a PCT country, the translation would have been prepared earlier for direct filing there, often at the same time the PCT was lodged.
Given that translation costs can run into thousands of dollars, applicants exercising this strategy can realise significant savings, though in narrow country combinations.