Google Inc. (GOOG) translation software
will translate existing patent
s to and from Chinese and 31 other languages, the company and the European Patent Office said.
Researchers will be able to check translations of millions of patents granted in European countries, China, Japan, Korea and Russia “to demonstrate that their invention is new and has not been already patented by somebody else,” Benoit Battistelli, the patent office’s president, told reporters.
Google will have access to existing translations held by the European Patent Office, the company said in a statement, and will provide its translation technology without charge on the patent office’s website. Google
’s program will translate patents to and from Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Russian as well as the 28 languages recognized by the European Union, it said.
European companies can pay as much as 10,000 euros ($14,100) to translate a patent valid in only 13 European Union countries, the European Commission has said. The EU, which lacks a region-wide patent, moved closer to establishing a system earlier this month.
Rainer Osterwalder, a spokesman for the patent office in Munich, said the translation tool “does not replace a translation where it is required by the law” and cannot be used for applying for a European patent.