Russian is the 22nd available language in Patent Translate, a machine translation tool specially tuned – by Google and the EPO – to patent documents and patent lingo. In the particular case of Russian, I expect Patent Translate will be saying “claims” rather than “invention’s formula” and similar nonsense. The public can use Patent Translate to translate any patent document on Espacenet.
In a recent press release, the EPO says the new technology will have an impact also on the searches its examiners perform. Certainly, all important patent literature in Russian (1.5 million documents) was already searchable and indexed, often with English abstracts too, but the Office believes that access to full-text translations will increase the chances that relevant prior art is discovered and considered during examination. On top of this, the Russian Patent Office will be adopting the CPC classification system shortly (commented here).
At least in theory, patentees should feel less worried about Russian “submarines” that their competitors might fish up after grant.
What technical fields will benefit the most? As a first guess, I’ve compared the top ten IPC classes in the 5,000 most recent EP, RU and Soviet publications.
|European Patent Office (EP)||Russian Federation (RU)||Soviet Union (SU)|
|1||A61 Medical devices; hygiene||A61 Medical devices; hygiene||C07 Organic chemistry|
|2||H04 Electric communication||C07 Organic chemistry||A61 Medical devices; hygiene|
|3||G06 Computing||G01 Measuring; testing||B01 Phys./chem. apparatus|
|4||G01 Measuring; testing||H04 Electric communication||H01 Basic electric elements|
|5||C07 Organic chemistry||G06 Computing||A01 Agriculture; forestry|
|6||H01 Basic electric elements||C12 Biochemistry; beer; wine||G01 Measuring; testing|
|7||C12 Biochemistry; beer; wine||A01 Agriculture; forestry||C08 Polymers|
|8||B01 Phys./chem. apparatus||B01 Phys./chem. apparatus||B29 Working of plastics|
|9||C08 Polymers||H01 Basic electric elements||F16 Engineering elements|
|10||A01 Agriculture; forestry||C08 Polymers||C12 Biochemistry; beer; wine|
Based on this rather unsophisticated analysis, there are just moderate differences between SU and EP patenting. Contemporary EP and RU documents are distributed in a very similar way in terms of IPC classes, meaning that the Russian material is likely to be relevant for a large percentage of the European patent applications. I’m curious to see if the EPO examiners will actually cite more Russian language documents in the next years.
Anders Hansson, European Patent Attorney