All countries belonging to the European Union, except for Spain and Italy, have access to a unique patent system better known as the European Unitary Patent system. This system belongs to the European Patent Office known as EPO, in charge of granting them.
Since the signing of the London Agreement in 2008, patents have been required to be translated only into one of the official languages of the EPO (English, French, or German). However, several member states that have not adhered to the Agreement require the translation of the content of patents into their official language. This is where translation services come to assist and facilitate the application process so it adheres to EPO translation requirements.
What is a patent?
A patent is a document that certifies a set of exclusive rights for the creator of a new product. The main purpose of a patent is to provide protection to its creator and limit any use of the subject matter of the patent for a certain period so that the inventor can have an advantage over other competitors and thus maintain the value of his product exclusively.
Patent translation services make it possible to transfer this valuable information from one language to another since patents have territorial rights and must be translated to ensure their inclusion in the global market.
What is the European Patent Guide?
In 2012, during the European Council, an agreement was reached between 26 EU member states on a European patent system with unitary effect, valid in the participating member states. At present, the unitary effect for a European patent can be registered at the time of grant, replacing the validation of the European patent in the individual countries concerned.
Unitary effect means a single renewal fee, a single group of owners, a single object of ownership, and uniform protection, which means that revocation and infringement proceedings will be decided for the unitary patent as a unity and not for each country individually.
When providing a European Patent, it has to be in one of the three languages established by the European Patent Office (EPO): English, German or French. Once chosen, the official language in which the patent application is filed is also the language of proceedings, i.e. the language used in the course of proceedings before the EPO.
However, several European countries continue to require translations into their local languages to validate the patent in their jurisdiction. It is possible to provide a European patent application in another language, but if so, a translation into one of the official languages is required during the patent application procedure.
Translation requirements according to the European Patent Guidelines
- A translation of the application must be filed with the EPO within two months from the filing date and, in the case of a divisional application, within two months from the filing of the divisional application.
- Suppose the European patent application is filed in a language that is not the official language of the EPO. In that case, this “foreign language” text is the originally filed and finally binding version of the application.
- It is at the discretion of the EPO to request the filing of certification within a certain period of time that the filed translation corresponds to the original text.
The importance of a good translation service
Patents are one of the areas where translation errors can have fatal consequences. The wrong choice of words can lead to a reduction or even loss of the scope of protection of the claims. Therefore, special care is required when selecting and working with a patent translation company.
For almost 20 years, Win & Winnow has provided excellent patent translation services that adhere to EPO translation requirements. We have a highly qualified patent translation team and offer solutions in more than 100 languages. To find out more about what we do, contact us. We will reach out to you as soon as possible.