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Google and EPO in translation deal

Written by Ben Evans on 01 December 2010

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The European Patent Office (EPO) has signed a deal with search engine giant Google to improve access to patent translations.

Under the collaboration the EPO will use Google's translation technology to translate patents into the languages of the 38 countries that it severs. In consideration for this the EPO will give Google access to the translated patents which will allow Google to optimise its translation technology. This will cover both patents that originate in Europe as well as those that originate from other regions but have protection in Europe. The aim is to offer faster and cheaper translations of patents for those that require them. At present anyone looking to register a patent must do so in either English, French or German and then translate it (at their own cost) into the language of any country in which they want the patent to apply.

EPO President Benoit Battistelli said: "The European Patent Office is one of the largest providers of free information on state-of-the-art technology disclosed in patents from around the globe. The partnership with Google to create machine translation tools for patents will help inventors, engineers and R+D teams to retrieve relevant documents efficiently - in their own language - from our wealth of published patent information. This agreement with Google puts the EPO at the forefront of efforts to strengthen the patent system's international character and improve its quality for the benefit of the global economy,"

Google said: "This collaboration is exciting for both Google and Europe. It will help to increase access to information for all Europeans, supporting the innovation process and allowing the European economy to strengthen its competitiveness...It demonstrates how private companies can work with public institutions to find innovative solutions to difficult issues."

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