Placeholder Banner

Protecting your IP Overseas

June 25, 2014
According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), nearly 100,000 biotechnology and pharmaceutical patent applications are filed worldwide each year, and the trend appears to be rising. As you’ve likely experienced, filing patent applications can be very complex, with different laws, deadlines and languages requiring highly technical translators for most countries in which you’re seeking protection.

As a result, companies seeking IP protection often outsource their domestic and foreign patent filings to service providers to streamline workflow, ensure the quality needed when working with highly technical and scientific content, and ultimately speed time to grant for their patents while better ensuring the enforceability of those patents.

Working with a partner that employs best practices in people, processes and technology is critical when dealing with your company’s most important data. Consider these areas in more detail before letting anyone near it:


Every person who comes in contact with a patent should be specialized in the target language, the technical nature of the patent and the filing requirements of each individual country. For example, translators should be native speakers of the target language with education in language translation or linguistics, as well as expertise in the specific technical field of the patent. They should also keep up to date with the terminology and developments relevant to the customer market segments in question and understand

Protecting Your IP Overseas

multinational patent translation requirements and rigid translation and documentation processes. This ensures you receive the most accurate, specialized, secure and timely translations.


Even with all the latest technologies on the market, some patent firms persist with the inefficient and often frustrating traditional model comprising dozens of translation teams around the globe—each managed locally, without coordinated project management or cross-team collaboration. This often leads to higher costs, increased human errors, lower productivity and a general absence of transparency in project advancement and deadlines. Service providers following best practices streamline translation tasks from independent teams and agents to collaborative teams that report to a single enterprise project owner. As a result, patents translated into multiple languages are more consistent and enable errors identified in one translation to be easily corrected across all translations.


Technology plays a significant role in foreign patent filings, specifically when dealing with IP translations. In addition to investing in human translators, service providers should be strategically investing in technologies for translation services, project management and even desktop publishing. There are indeed translation-enabling technologies that, when coupled with human translators, can ensure greater accuracy and quality for the rigorous requirements of patent filings. For example, translation memory software allows translators to leverage past translations. Terminology management ensures consistency across translations. Both are examples of how technology can save time and cost for translators and the enterprise client.

In addition, project management tools allow project owners to coordinate even the most formidable portfolio of patent prosecutions across a global network. A translation company’s project management and tracking tool should be specifically designed for translation processes, creating schedules and following each project task from start to finish. Streamlined management improves project transparency and enables project managers and team leaders in a global, distributed work environment to work collaboratively and effectively on translation projects. All parties can monitor the status of each project, along with its actual expenses and projected cost estimates.

By ensuring that your service providers deliver best practices in the areas of people, processes and technology, you will help reduce your risks, increase the value per patent translated and protect your IP throughout the patent filing process – and beyond. For more insight, participate in the Intellectual Property Track, Room 23ABC

Jeremy Coombs, Senior Vice President of Operations, MultiLing