6 December 2012
As a result, the collections of the two largest languages in patents are now united as full-text documents on the same website through the EPO's global patent database, Espacenet, and linguistically accessible for innovators from both regions using a single tool, Patent Translate. Under the new arrangement with SIPO, Espacenet has grown by 4 million Chinese language documents, adding to the 75 million documents already available.
Making the announcement at the annual bilateral meeting of the two offices in Brussels today, EPO President Benoît Battistelli said: "The launch of the Chinese-English machine translation tool opens a new dimension in patent information. Thanks to the close relations between the EPO and SIPO, millions of patent documents in the two most important languages of technology are now freely available for engineers, inventors and scientists the world over. This is a major contribution to strengthening the competitiveness of European businesses. The European economy as a whole will benefit, as innovating companies will now be able to better target their R&D work by searching Chinese patent documents, while further improving the substance of their patent applications. Patent offices, too, will be able to use the service in their daily work, which will positively impact on the quality of the patenting process. This step underlines the leading role of the EPO in patent information."
With the addition of Chinese, Patent Translate now enables free on-the-fly-translation of patents from, and into, English for 14 languages. Launched in February 2012 and integrated into the Espacenet database, Patent Translate is expected to enable machine translations of patents into all 28 official languages of the 38 member states of the European Patent Organisation, plus Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Russian by 2014, and represents the world's most comprehensive multilingual platform for patent information.
The development of this service is the latest result of co-operation between the EPO and China, which goes back more than 25 years. Since 2007 EPO-SIPO co-operation has also addressed strategic issues such as the harmonisation of patent procedures and tools, turning the partnership into a cornerstone of the international patent system.