Together the European Patent Office and the Japan Patent Office have launched a Japanese-English automatic translation service. With this Patent Translate service now available, more than a million Japanese patent documents have been made available. Users browsing the EPO database, Espacenet, can easily translate full-text patents with a simple click of the mouse. Japanese users can also translate European documents, and the best part is it’s completely free of charge.
This is especially big for U.S. companies, as they make up the majority of EPO users. EPO President Benoit Battistelli states that, “The launch of the Japanese-English machine translation tool is a major step forward for patent information… Japanese is one of the leading languages of technology, and a lot of scientific knowledge, or what we call ‘prior art’, resides in Japanese patents and patent documents, which are now freely available in English to engineers, inventors and scientists around the world.”
Also drawing attention to the EPO is the future implementation of the Unified Patent Court. By creating a specialized patent court, decisions on the infringement and validity of European patents can be decided quickly and at a lower cost. The Unified Patent Court will have exclusive jurisdiction for litigation regarding European patents.
Of the Unified Patent Court, Battistelli notes, “It is of the utmost importance to build a litigation system that is fit for purpose, incorporating all the necessary remedies and safeguards, and to find the right balance between the different interests at stake. The future Court will represent a synthesis of these basic principles, and the best-qualified and most experienced judges in the patent field in Europe will be selected to implement them.”
These developments, along with the Cooperative Patent Classification co-managed by the EPO and the USPTO, will further increase the ease of exchanging patent information between databases. In focusing on cooperation between a number of different networks, the EPO, USPTO and other patent offices across the globe aim to open the floor for innovation.