EP Validation Requires High Quality Legal Translation

ThinkstockPhotos-451295401Translation plays an important role in the European Patent (EP) validation process, from the initial application and grant stages right through to validation and completion. Nevertheless, an EP validation translation often suffers from poor quality output, especially when compared to that of PCT translations.

In the legal translation industry, EP validation and filing is often considered a “transactional” process and many legal service providers market the translation and filing of applications for EP validation as a straightforward administrative service.  This contributes to the perception of EP validation as a transaction, demanding little in the way of true IP or subject matter expertise.

Having worked closely with many legal clients to meet their EP validation requirements, quality is an issue. To cast the translation and filing of patents for EP validation as simply an administrative procedure—as “just paperwork”—is to understate the importance of maintaining high quality standards when going about the business of protecting valuable innovations.

There are lots of IP translation firms in the market offering services through a client-facing portal, pitched as a hassle-free service with the EP translations running through an automatic system. The danger with such firms is that their approach frequently neglects quality as a high priority – but it should be. While it is the case that translated applications filed at the EP validation stage are prepared post-grant and not subject to examination, poor quality translations can still cost companies millions by jeopardizing enforcement viability or compromising an organization’s prospects during litigation. Do Not Neglect IP Translation at the EP Validation Stage.

Translations for EP validation should go through the same high quality, meticulous procedures used for PCT applications and filings. They should be executed by the same level of specialized personnel. At Park IP Translations, we do offer a client-facing online portal for managing translation and filing projects – when appropriate and for the “right” type of projects.  Tthe portal is just part of a more consultative approach, with staff always on hand to answer any questions about the translation and filing services we provide to ensure accuracy and quality. Our online platform is supports, rather than replaces, a commitment to personalized service that adds value and ensures that quality levels for EP validation are the same as any PCT application.

A noting trend that is occurring is that clients and firms are being more selective to which countries they wish to file in. They are filing fewer patents but at a higher quality.*  The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) released 2014 statistics highlighting that around 50% of European patents are validated in three states, with five state validations still being a popular choice at 40%.  Compared to the previous year’s figures where five state validations held the majority percent, it can be argued that individuals and businesses are investing more time into the quality and standards of their patents than previously.

A patent is a highly technical document and it is vital that the translation of the patent is in line with the patent specifications and is precise. The number of patents that go forward into litigation may be low; however, it is a highly costly procedure. Organizations forced to pursue litigation in order to protect their innovations will want to be confident that the language of their issued patents accurately reflects the true scope of their intellectual property. .

A recent discussion about patent quality at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) led to a lively discussion about the current and future state of patent quality and identifying six proposals for patent quality. Among the key speakers was Manny Schecter, IMB’s Chief Patent Counsel, who said “Patent quality is not invention quality . . . they relate to each other, they impact each other . . . but patent quality is its own unique thing.” This is emphasizes the importance of a high quality patent and any subsequent translations and the impact on the validation of the patent.

In speaking with IP professionals on a daily basis, handling EP validation inquiries, procedures and accounts quality is paramount. There should not be any exceptions. If you require assistance or further information about Park IP’s EP validation services, please feel free to get in touch with me at kris.jeffrey@parkip.com.


Kris Jeffrey is a European Business Development Director at Park IP Translations, a Welocalize company.

Further Reading:

Ten Important Facts About European Patent Validation

Do Not Neglect Translation at the EP Validation Stage

*Source: An overview of EP validation by Country and technological sector


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