Press release | 24.3.2011
Munich/Brussels, 24 March 2011 -- Following the announcement of their intention to collaborate in November 2010, the European Patent Office (EPO) and Google have today signed a long term agreement to collaborate on machine translation of patents into multiple European, Slavonic and Asian languages.
Under the partnership, the EPO will use Google Translate technology to offer translation of patents on its website into 28 European languages, as well as into Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Russian. The EPO will provide Google access to its entire corpus of translated patents to enable Google to optimise its machine translation technology for the specific language used in patent registrations. The agreement is non-exclusive, and there is no financial component involved
From this year onwards, companies, inventors, scientists and the interested public will be able - for information and research purposes - to search for patents on the EPO website in English, French and German (the EPO's official languages), and translate between them on the fly. The other European languages, as well as Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Russian, will be made available in phases, and the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2014.
The partnership between the EPO and Google will enable free, real-time translation of millions of patents granted in European countries, China, Japan, Korea and Russia. This facility will be of great benefit to European innovators in their research and development, allowing them to reduce costs and save time by searching for patents relevant to their inventions across all EPO languages simultaneously.
"Machine translation helps to overcome language barriers and make information contained in patents globally accessible and available. The new translation tool is a further stepping stone to improving innovation in Europe, and enabling European businesses to play level with their competitors in other regions. Moreover, I am convinced that it will facilitate the development of the unitary patent," says EPO President Benoît Battistelli.
"This project will be of huge benefit to inventors, scientists and innovators across Europe - enabling them to speed up R+D efforts with searches in their own language, across the entire EPO corpus of European, Asian and Russian patents," says Antoine Aubert, head of public policy at Google Brussels. "Google Translate was created to help break down language barriers, and this collaboration with the EPO will do exactly that, for all Europeans in all languages."
The broad geographical scope of the agreement underlines the role of the EPO as leading provider of technical information disclosed in patents. Since 1998 the Office pursues an open policy in disseminating technical data in its search collection. In cooperation with the member states, the EPO also publishes national patent collections.
The EPO has widely opened up its patent documentation on the Internet since 1998 and pursues an open policy in disseminating its technical search collection data. In cooperation with its Member States, it also publishes national patent collections. The EPO has been active in the machine translation area since 2004 to address the increasing challenge of accessing patent data in its official languages. Machine Translation has also become key to access and disseminate European patent data to both the public at large and the specialised users of patent information.
The mission of the European Patent Office (EPO) is to support innovation, competitiveness and economic growth for the benefit of the citizens of Europe. Its task is to grant European patents for inventions on the basis of a centralized procedure for the contracting states to the European Patent Convention (EPC), which was signed in Munich on 5 October 1973 and entered into force on 7 October 1977.
Google's innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in all major global markets. Google's targeted advertising program provides businesses of all sizes with measurable results, while enhancing the overall web experience for users. Google is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. For more information, visit www.google.com.
EPO, Rainer Osterwalder, Director Media Relations
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