Co-operation of the EPO with Russia and the Eurasian region intensifies: Language barrier in patent information removed

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Russian-English machine translation for patents launched; Rospatent to use the CPC classification system   

Geneva/Moscow/Munich, 26 September 2013 -- The European Patent Office (EPO) today announced the start of two major joint initiatives with the Federal Service for Intellectual Property of the Russian Federation (Rospatent) and the Eurasian Patent Office (EAPO), which will benefit engineers, scientists and industry in both regions.  

Meeting in Geneva today, the heads of the three organisations launched the Russian-English component of the EPO's automatic translation service Patent Translate, which will make more than 1.5 million Russian-language patent documents available in English free-of-charge via the EPO's worldwide patent database Espacenet.

The EPO and Rospatent also signed an agreement to enhance their co-operation in the area of patent classification, under which Rospatent will classify its newly published patent applications into the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) used at the EPO.

"These initiatives are major steps forward in improving access to information on new technologies and harmonising our patent systems, which will boost innovation in Europe and beyond," said EPO President Benoît Battistelli. "The Russian language is an important addition as it is used not only in Russia but by millions of people throughout the Eurasian region."

Breaking down the language barriers

With the launch of the Russian-English component of Patent Translate, for the first time, Russian-language patents are being made available in English in the EPO's worldwide patent collection Espacenet, free-of-charge at the click of a mouse. Especially small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as research institutes, stand to benefit from this enhancement. The tool will also help patent offices improve the quality of their services.

"This new service will provide the Russian-speaking community and industry with better access to information on new technologies from all over the world, while making information about their inventions readily available in English to millions of users worldwide," said Boris Simonov, Director General of Rospatent. "This in turn will lead to further innovation in our two regions."

"The EAPO's participation is a natural continuation of our efforts to provide access to Eurasian patent documentation for the world patent community via the EPO's Espacenet," said EAPO President Alexander Grigoriev. "We hope the Russian-English machine translation tool will become a valuable component in the creation of a multilingual world platform of patent information."

With the addition of Russian, Patent Translate now enables free, on-the-fly-translation of patents from, and into, English for 22 languages, including  Chinese and Japanese. Launched in February 2012 and integrated into the EPO's Espacenet database, Patent Translate was set up to enable machine translations of patents to be possible in the 28 official languages of the 38 member states of the European Patent Organisation, and also in the major Asian languages by 2014.

Harmonising classification systems

The second agreement signed by the EPO and Rospatent concerns the classification of patent documents. Under this agreement, as of January 2016, Rospatent will start to classify into the CPC patent documents currently being processed, and begin to classify the volume of already published patent documentation as of 2017. The corresponding classification data will be shared with the EPO.

The CPC is the most refined classification system for patent documents in the world (250 000 subdivisions) and was jointly implemented by the EPO and the United States Patent and Trademark Office on 1 January 2013. It is largely based on the European Classification (ECLA) system formerly used at the EPO.

"With Rospatent introducing the CPC as its classification scheme, access to Russian patent documentation will be dramatically improved," said EPO President Benoît Battistelli. "It will make searching patents more efficient for patent examiners and the public alike, and improve the quality of the patent granting process. It is also a significant achievement in terms of harmonisation of our patent systems and the recognition of the CPC as a global system which can be used by many patent offices around the world."

Rospatent Director-General Simonov said: "The introduction of the CPC at Rospatent is another step towards a harmonised and more effective patent system. It creates a strong basis for enhancing co-operation between Rospatent and the EPO. We believe that the ultimate goal of such co-operation is the development of high-quality patent examination practices for the benefit of the global IP community."

The CPC is already used by more than 45 patent offices worldwide as a means to perform efficient prior art searches during the patent granting process.

Notes to editors:

On EPO-Russia-Eurasia co-operation

The EPO has a long and established tradition of co-operation on intellectual property rights with both Rospatent and the Eurasian Patent Office that goes back two decades. The EPO has worked very closely with EAPO, especially in the early days, during the establishment and consolidation of EAPO patent procedures and processing. The EPO and Rospatent have worked together to harmonise Russian patent legislation with European legislation, and develop patent examination guidelines to be used by Rospatent. The importance of EPO-Russia relations is also reflected in patent applications: The number of applications filed by Russian inventors and companies at the EPO has risen steadily in the past decade, while European companies today file the lion's share (50%) of non-domestic applications received by Rospatent.

About Rospatent

The Federal Service for Intellectual Property of the Russian Federation (Rospatent) is a federal executive authority performing functions of control and supervision in the area of the legal protection and exploitation of intellectual property rights, including patents and trademarks.

About the EAPO

The Eurasian Patent Office (EAPO), founded in 1995, is an established regional patent office that grants patents for the territories of its eight member states - Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan - via a centralised procedure. The operative language is Russian. 

About the EPO
With more than 7 000 staff, the European Patent Office (EPO) is one of the largest public service institutions in Europe. Its headquarters are in Munich and it also has offices in Berlin, Brussels, The Hague and Vienna. Through the EPO's centralised patent granting procedure, inventors are able to obtain high-quality patent protection in the 38 member states of the European Patent Organisation. The EPO is also the world's leading authority in patent information and patent searching. 

Press contact:

Oswald Schröder
Spokesperson
European Patent Office
Tel: +49 89 2399 1800
Mobile: +49 163 8399 668
Email: oschroeder@epo.org

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