Munich/Tokyo, 5 June 2013 – In another significant move to break down the language barriers to technological information, the European Patent Office (EPO) and the Japan Patent Office (JPO) today announced the launch of the Japanese-English component of the EPO’s automatic translation service
Patent Translate. This means more than a million Japanese patent documents available via the EPO’s global patent database
Espacenet can now be instantly translated into English free-of-charge at the click of a mouse. This major step offers access to Japanese patents in the full-text version, while Japanese inventors can read European patents in their own language.

With the addition of Japanese, Patent Translate now enables free on-the-fly-translation of patents from, and into, English for 15 languages including Chinese. Launched in February 2012 and integrated into the Espacenet database, Patent Translate was set up to enable machine translations of patents to be possible in the 28 official languages of the 38 member states of the European Patent Organisation, and also in the most important Asian languages by 2014. The service will then represent the world’s most comprehensive multilingual platform for patent information. The EPO’s Espacenet already contains more than 80 million patent documents from around the world.

The addition of Japanese documents is the latest result of the close co-operation between the EPO and Japan, which goes back more than 30 years. In 1983, the EPO and JPO, together with the United States Patent and Trademark Office ─ the three largest offices at the time ─ established the Trilateral Cooperation to look into ways of solving common automation problems. Thirty years on, this cooperation has intensified, and now includes areas such as documentation, data standards and patent information.