21 May 2012
On Wednesday, 16 May I was in Moscow to sign an agreement with the Russian patent office – Rospatent – about Patent Translate, our MT service. Over the coming months, our two offices will work together to build up the English-Russian corpora. This new MT agreement testifies once more to the excellent relationship the EPO and Rospatent have developed over many years, and which we further reinforced last September by signing an MoU defining the general framework for our co operation, followed in January by a comprehensive two-year work plan.
Our goal is to maximise convergence between our patent systems – already quite close – and to facilitate market access for innovators and firms in both regions. After all, Europe is a very important trade partner for Russia: the EU countries alone account for 43% of Russia’s imports and 49% of exports, and European companies file the lion’s share (50%) of non-domestic applications received by Rospatent.
Last week’s public signing ceremony in Russia’s Chamber of Commerce was also a good opportunity to meet representatives of the country’s business and IP community. I was particularly pleased by the lively audience participation in a Q & A session which ranged over a variety of issues such as the impact in the patent field of Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization, how to raise patent awareness amongst Russian universities and SMEs, and questions relating to the patent litigation system.
Lastly, this new agreement is another major landmark in ensuring that our MT programme is complete. Just over a year since we launched our strategic partnership with Google, work on the 28 languages of the EPO member states, plus Chinese, Japanese and Russian, is already way. Korean is now the only language for which an agreement has yet to be signed, but discussions are ongoing and I am sure they will soon bear fruit.