Why you should avoid bad patent translations

Filing a patent is an expensive process, so it is understandable that applicants want to save on costs whenever possible. Translation costs make up a large part of the initial costs and can account for more than 50% of the total costs, depending on the length of the patent application. Especially patents in the field of chemistry are usually quite long, so that the translation costs are decisive there.

A patent translator must have linguistic and technical skills

The main problem when looking for a good patent translator is that you need a professional who not only has excellent command of the source and target languages, but who is also familiar with the technical background of the invention and has a good understanding of the invention.

There are many translation agencies and freelance translators that offer cheap rates, but do they have the necessary technical knowledge and experience in the relevant field?

Poor patent translations are more expensive in the long run

The wording of the translated patent specification and claims is the most important thing when it comes to applying for your patent abroad. It can have a major impact on the chances of being granted and also on the scope of protection of the patent.

With a low-cost translator, you may save once on the passport translation costs, but in the long run the patent application can become more expensive overall. Ambiguous formulations due to inappropriate translations can lead to examination notices or, in the worst case, the scope of protection of the patent can be reduced due to unfavorable formulations in the claims.

How exactly can bad patent translations negatively impact a patent application?

1. False information about competitor’s patents or cited patents

Many companies monitor their competitors’ patents to see what they are up to. If a competing patent is pending in a foreign language, a translation is required. To save costs, there is the possibility to use machine translations. However, machine translation can produce bad translations that give the wrong picture. Understanding a competitor’s patents with sufficient accuracy and acting accordingly requires a professional translation. The same applies to foreign patents that are cited in examination reports. Understanding why a patent was refused and preparing an appropriate response requires a thorough understanding of the cited reference.

We are happy to help you with the translation of competing patents or references from examination notices. A partial translation of a patent specification is also possible. If you are unsure whether you need a full translation or just a part, please feel free to contact us.

2. Patent Examination Problems

When requesting examination for a foreign patent application, the translation is assessed by patent examiners in the respective country. It is therefore important to translate the application in a way that is clear and understandable for the examiners in their own language. However, clear and unambiguous translations of technical concepts require certain previous knowledge and thorough research. It is therefore very important that your patent is translated by an expert in the field who is also familiar with the usual wording for patent applications in this field.

Ambiguous translations can lead to additional test reports and thus to a general increase in costs.

Our patent translators are all experts in their respective fields and have translated a large number of patent documents. They are familiar with the wording and know how to formulate translations in order to avoid ambiguous formulations.

3. Post-grant problems

Even after the patent has been granted, a bad translation can still cause problems. In particular, when translating the claims, care must be taken to ensure that the translated claims cover exactly the same scope of protection as the claims in the original. If a translator makes an unfavorable choice of words when translating the claims and chooses a term that reduces the scope of the claims, your patent will only be valid for that reduced scope. In the worst case, they then spent a lot of money on a patent that does not cover the same scope as the original application.

When translating the claims, our patent translators pay particular attention to ensuring that the translation has the same scope as the original application.

Technical knowledge is essential for the translation of patents. All of our in-house patent translators have many years of experience in patent translation and in-depth knowledge of their subject area. Because LST emerged from the former translation department of the patent and law firm LST we can look back on more than 100 years of experience in the field of commercial legal protection. When you entrust us with your patent translation, you can be sure that it will be done by a professional with the necessary technical understanding.

If you are interested in our services and want to know more, you can always contact no.1 translation agency in UK . We would be happy to provide you with a free offer or provide further information without obligation.

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