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Patent translations - from Switzerland to the world


If a new invention emerges at the end of a research and development process, the path leads to the patents office. Here you can have your discovery patented, i.e. obtain the protective right for the sole use and marketing of your invention.

In Switzerland, you go through a patent application procedure divided into several steps.

However, your patent is usually only valid in the country where you filed the application. Patents granted in Switzerland are also valid in Liechtenstein. To have your invention patented in other countries as well, you must file separate applications with WIPO, the World Intellectual Property Organization, the European Patent Office or the patents office of your targeted country, depending on the desired radius.

What is a patent application procedure?

The patent application procedure in Switzerland is a complex process in which you file a patent application with the patents office, in compliance with the requirements of the Swiss Patents Act and the Swiss Patents Ordinance:

  • the invention must be patentable, among other things,
  • be the result of an inventive process and new to the market,
  • and solve a technical problem or be part of the solution.

In addition to the formulated claim to your patent, the application must also include a description of the invention. The documents must be written in one of the official languages in force in Switzerland, i.e. French, German or Italian. After 18 months, the patent application is published. The application will be granted if it meets all the requirements of the respective jurisdiction.

Important: After the patent has been granted, it can be challenged in Switzerland during the following nine months. If this is not done, you will have the patent for your invention for up to 20 years.

What is a patent translation and when is it necessary?

A patent translation is a translation of the existing patent into the target language of the country in which you plan to file another patent application or in which you want to enter into business relationships.

Perhaps you would like to have your granted patent translated for your investors or business partners or you need the document in a legal case. If you would like to apply for a patent in Switzerland for an invention from abroad, the existing patent must be available in a German, French or Italian translation.

In addition to translating an existing patent, it is also possible to formulate a new patent application for an invention in the target language of the country if you do not wish to apply for a patent for it in your own country.

What requirements must patent translations fulfil?

The requirements for a patent translation can vary depending on the target country, as there is no uniform patent law worldwide. Although it is important that the translation exactly reflects the content of the original so that the invention can also be patented abroad, the respective legal peculiarities of the target country must be taken into account. Since, in addition to the actual patent specification, correspondence with the patents office and other supplementary documents may also be required, these must of course also be translated. Semantics, grammar and structure must correspond to the specifications of the target country without deviating from the content.

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What skills do patent translators bring with them?

Patent translators bring with them a wide range of skills: cultural sensitivity and technical expertise, as well as in-depth knowledge of patent law in their own and the target country, are prerequisites for producing a reliable and thoroughly successful patent translation.

Patent translators often specialise in specific target countries or subject areas where inventions are created and patents are applied for. This enables them to correctly render the complex patent descriptions, using the appropriate technical or scientific vocabulary. Of course, even the most experienced specialists are not always familiar with all terms or facts in the case of new developments, so a skilled patent translator must also be able to familiarise themselves quickly with new specialist areas, acquire the appropriate terminology as well as apply it professionally in the target language.

Excellent research skills are therefore just as much a must as broad technical knowledge, the ability to independently familiarise oneself with complex and highly technical topics and absolute conscientiousness and accuracy. After all, every word counts in a patent specification!

Country-specific peculiarities, special legal cases and cultural conditions must be just as familiar to the translator as the willingness to exercise absolute discretion: in a patent application procedure, it is always advisable not to give information to the outside world too early in order to reliably protect the invention until the patent has been granted.

Attention to detail and completeness are also paramount for patent translations, so the patent translator must be able to translate all components of the document into the target language word-for-word, from the patent specification and the correspondence to the captions of any drawings, even under time pressure.

If you want to be sure that that the translation of your patent is in good hands, get in touch with us. As a patent translation agency, we will ensure that you receive an optimal translation of both your patent and all communication.