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PLuTO - Patent Language Translations Online

250416 - Pilot B


At a glance

PSP -2009.5.1 - Machine Translation for the Multilingual Web


The increase in IP protection activities in a large number of countries, particularly related to patents, has increased the difficulty for SMEs and individuals to enter new markets. These difficulties arise due to the costs of entering a market - in terms of prior art search and translation - and constitute a large risk. However, it is still a necessity as language differences are no excuse in case of infringement.

For example, the major risk for an SME is that it will invest all its resources to enter a particular market, only to discover later that a competitor has a patent in that market. The result: blocking out of that market, loss of investments or payment of IPR fees to the patent owner, acquisition by the competitor under unfavourable conditions or even bankruptcy. Linguistic barriers are particularly hard to overcome in the context of patents due to their specific language: both technical and legal at the same time. Also, the multi-national distribution of patent sources adds additional difficulties because the user needs to identify and connect to different data sources in multiple languages.

PLuTO aims to overcome these barriers by providing an integrated, online translation tool, where several human experts (technical, legal, consultants) can take advantage of existing web-content and state-of-the-art, data-driven machine translation and information retrieval tools to collaboratively retrieve and translate patents.


PLuTO will develop a rapid solution for patent search and translation by integrating a number of existing components and adapting them to the relevant domains and languages. CNGL bring to the target platform a state-of-the-art translation engine, MaTrEx, which exploits hybrid statistical, example-based and hierarchical techniques and has demonstrated high quality translation performance in a number of recent evaluation campaigns. ESTeam contributes a comprehensive translation software environment to the project, including server-based, multi-layered, multi-domain translation memory technology. Information retrieval expertise is provided by the IRF which also provides access to its data on patent search use-cases and a large scale, multilingual patent repository. PLuTO will also exploit the use-case holistic machine translation expertise of Cross Language, who have significant experience in the evaluation of machine translation, while WON will be directly involved in all phases of development, providing valuable user feedback. The consortium also intends to collaborate closely with the European Patent Office in order to profit from their experience in this area.

The result

By the end of the project duration, PLuTO will also have an indexing engine, such that it will not only be used for machine translation, but also as a complete tool for prior art search by professional patent searchers or individual inventors. On top of all this, PLuTO will be a professional Web 2.0 application, where translations provided or corrected by one user will improve the translation quality of subsequent translations for all users. Patent experts will participate in all stages of the solution, from the initial design phase, through its iterative improvements, to the final evaluation of the pilot. Ultimately, users will be able to shape the result of the project to match their concrete needs and pain points. It is considered that the most important tangible output of PLuTO will be the web-based collaborative platform for patent searchers, translators and lawyers, exploited by a joint SME.


PLuTO will also result in the commoditisation of domain-adaptable machine translation systems, making them more visible to potential users of such technology. This service will ultimately give rise to a more inclusive innovation society, where individual inventors and SMEs have access to a large pool of international knowledge without language barriers.



Contact Person:

Name: Paraic Sheridan

Tel: +35317006706

Fax: 00302310234205


Organisation: Centre for Next Generation Localisation


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This page is maintained by: Susan Fraser (email removed)