Translation Requirements

Date Published

In certain circumstances, the Commissioner may request an applicant to file a translation of a basic specification (see Basic Specifications).

A translation of a basic specification should comprise a full translation of that specification, including any certification.

For translations filed before or on 25 September 2019, a certificate of verification for the translation must also be filed (see Certificate of Verification below).  

The translation and certificate of verification (where required) need not necessarily be original documents. Photocopies are acceptable, provided they are accompanied by a declaration, properly executed in accordance with reg 22.13, to the effect that they are true copies of the originals.

The translation must be in respect of the whole of the foreign specification, including the claims, any substantive text that may appear on the drawings, graphics or photographs and any official certificates annexed thereto. For the translation to be a true translation, it must not incorporate any extraneous matter.

Certificate of Verification

Under reg 1.3, a "certificate of verification" is a statement that:

  • a document to which the statement relates is a true and complete translation of the relevant document to the best of the knowledge of the person who signs the statement; and
  • is dated and signed.

It is not necessary that the “certificate of verification” use the exact words as specified, i.e. whilst it might be desirable to use those particular words, if other words are used which (in practical terms) are of the same effect, the requirements are satisfied.  In particular, it is not necessary that the word “verify” or any of its derivatives appear in the verification.  Accordingly, provided there is a signed and dated statement to the effect that the document is a translation, with it being readily inferable from the circumstances that the statement infers that it is a true and complete translation, then the translation requirements are to be regarded as having been met.

The verification will usually be in the form of a statement by the translator that:

  • the translator is familiar with both languages involved; and
  • the translation is a true and correct translation into the English language.

However, reg 1.3 does not require a statement that the translator is familiar with both of the relevant languages to be in the certificate of verification and does not preclude a person other than the translator from making the verification. An acceptable form of verification is shown in 2.20 Annex D – Verification of Translation. Provided the verification meets these requirements, no objection should be taken.

A properly verified statement setting out any differences between a translation of a basic specification and the complete specification filed in respect of the Convention application, if it is in English, or a verified translation of the complete specification, if it is not in English, is also acceptable for meeting the requirements of a verified translation of a basic specification.

Correction of Translation

For translations filed before or on 25 September 2019, examiners should not check the correctness of the translation, even if they are familiar with the foreign language concerned.  If examiners nonetheless become aware of an apparent error in a translation, no objection should be taken in this regard, as the translation provided is accepted as being verified to the satisfaction of the Commissioner.

For translations filed after 25 September 2019, where examiners become aware of errors in the translation, they should follow the procedures in Request for Corrected Translation or Certificate of Verification.

Other Considerations

The law in countries having a national language other than English may permit or require the basic specification to be filed in English, but the certification by the competent authority of the country's patent office is given in the national language. Where this occurs, a translation of the certificate must be provided.  (For translations filed before or on 25 September 2019, a certificate of verification for the translation must also be provided).

Where the certificate from the competent authority is printed in two languages, one of which is English, no objection is to be taken and a separate translation of the certificate is not required, even if the non-English text appears to be more extensive than the English text (provided all required particulars are stated in English).

The introductory pages of French basic specifications may include pages entitled "Requete" and "Page de Garde".  Neither of these is required under the Regulations and if present do not need to be translated.