Did You Know WIPO Could Do That?April 20, 2017

Patent Offices around the world – including the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office – are continually improving websites through enhanced user interfaces and also providing new tools. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is no exception. WIPO has long been a references for searching and downloading international applications, namely Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) patent applications. However, WIPO provides many other useful tools that people may not be well aware of. In the last few months a few very interesting upgrades have been made that provide more readily available information on international patent applications. A few of the available resources from WIPO are outlined here:

  • Translations. WIPO is now using AI or “artificial intelligence” in its instant translational tool for certain patent documents. Even more existing is that it is a free translation. This unique technology employs what is referred to as neural translation, which is a translation tool that is trained to provide patent translations in a natural language fashion. This is achieved by direct comparison of the same patent document between two different patent offices in distinct languages (and comparing over 60 million sentences). Currently WIPO’s AI tool is aimed at translating Chinese, Japanese, Korean, French, German, Russian, Spanish and Portuguese patent documents into English (and visa versa). The version available on the website provides Chinese-to-English translations and initial comment on the program are quite favorable and indicates the accuracy far exceeds what is available from other translation programs, such as Google translate.More information on this tool is available at http://www.wipo.int/patentscope/en/wipo-translate/index.html, including a User Manual providing options on translating entire documents or smaller portions. In particular, a user can copy and paste portions of a text for translate into the program, or click on the “WIPO Translate” button within a PATENTSCOPE search result.
  • Dossier Content. WIPO now provides access to dossier content from participating patent offices through the PATENTSCOPE tab in PCT application or family (such as a National Phase filing), including patent applications from the European, Japanese and Canadian national/regional collections.The goal is to extend this to also include US, Korean, Chinese and Australian applications (although no time frames are available on these additional countries at this time). Notably only published documents are available that relate to the substantive search and examination of applications in each office. This information is often referred to as a “file wrapper” in the US. The WIPO dossier content is largely up-to-date information on the particular patent and includes search reports, office actions, and any correspondence between the applicant and the patent office. English versions of documents from China, Japan and Korea are available through automated machine translations.
  • Multilingual Terminology Tool. A program called “WIPO Pearl” was developed by WIPO language experts and terminologists to provide a terminology database after studying 10 languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish). The tool provides scientific and technical terms across languages based on their use in patent documents. The intent is to increase consistency within patent documents across different languages and provide terms and equivalent definitions in other languages. More information on this tool is available at http://www.wipo.int/reference/en/wipopearl/.
  • Patent Landscapes. A very interesting tool available is through patent landscape reports (PLRs) from WIPO. These are meant to provide a “snapshot of the patent situation of a specific technology, either within a given country or region, or globally.” The PLRs provide a search of patent databases and then an analysis of patenting activity, including a visual assessment. Landscapes are available on a number of areas and step-by-step instructions on generating a PLR are also available.The most recently issued PLR available include technologies of Palm Oil Production and Waste Treatment Technologies, Microalgae-Related Technologies, and Assistive Devices for Visually and Hearing Impaired Persons.Landscape reports are available at http://www.wipo.int/patentscope/en/programs/patent_landscapes/.
  • Patent Searching. We can’t forget to mention one of the original useful tools of the WIPO website which was patent searching. The site boasts that users can search “59 million patent documents including 3.1 million published” PCT applications. An interesting new feature is the ability to conduct chemical structure searches. A user must be logged into the WIPO site to use this tool (which is available free of charge) and the selection criteria of chemical compounds is used to then search a compound. This can be done by drawing a structure, searching by a name, CAS name, or other proprietary names, or even uploading a structure (e.g. png, gif, tiff, jpeg formats). Unfortunately the searching is not able to be done on genetic formulae for polymers. All searches, including chemical structures, can be done at https://patentscope.wipo.int/search/en/search.jsf.


Jill N. Link is an Intellectual Property Attorney in the Biotechnology/Chemical Practice Group at McKee, Voorhees & Sease, PLC. For additional information or questions, please contact Jill at jill.link@ipmvs.com.This article first appeared in the March 2017 issue of Briefs, the quarterly MVS newsletter. For more information, visit the archive of Briefs newsletters, or to receive a copy of the newsletter via email please subscribe here.

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