Multilingual patent database created to propel innovation

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Copyright: Xavier Cervera/Panos

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  • The WIPO Pearl database includes around 91,000 terms in ten languages
  • It seeks to drive innovation by helping inventors overcome language barriers
  • New words and concepts are constantly being added

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[CAIRO] A free multilingual database has been launched by UN agency the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to help people working in different disciplines search and understand patents in their local language.

The WIPO Pearl database currently includes around 91,000 terms and 15,000 concepts in ten languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

All of the data have been entered and validated by translators working within WIPO’s team of professional patent translators in the course of their day-to-day work, says Geoffrey Westgate, project leader for WIPO Pearl.

“The database will help increase the number of Arab patents, which is currently very low, partly due to the language barrier.”

Hassan Azzazy, American University in Cairo

New words and terminologies are constantly being added, he adds.

“Users of the patent system in regions or countries that don’t have a highly developed infrastructure for accessing patent information in different languages would benefit from the database,” says Westgate, as it allows users to search for terms and concepts across accepted patents in their own language.

Tarek Kabil, former supervisor of technological development and scientific services at Egypt’s Academy of Scientific Research & Technology, says the database will help researchers and inventors finalise their patents smoothly and accurately, saving time.

“Writing applications for patents requires the use of accurate scientific and technical terminology,” says Kabil. “The database will help them complete these applications in a professional and precise manner, reducing the chances of rejection.”

The database, which was launched last month (19 September), also provides examples of how terms are used, as well as diagrams showing the relationship between different concepts.

The project is run by WIPO’s translators and terminologists, but the agency plans to work with other organisations to develop the database.

“In the next phase, we aim to seek cooperation with science and technology institutions across the world to receive additional input from technical subject field experts,” says Westgate.

Hassan Azzazy, a chemist at the American University in Cairo and chief science officer at diagnostic technology development company D-Kimia, says: “This will be a great boost to global innovation because it breaks the language barrier for many inventors”. Additionally, the ‘prior art’ search, which innovators can use to check if their idea has already been patented, “will be easier and more accurate” using this database.
He hopes the “database will help increase the number of Arab patents, which is currently very low, partly due to the language barrier”.
> Link to WIPO Pearl