Machine Translation and Disclosure of Patent Information

Aline Azevedo Larroyed*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Machine translation represents a revolution in the patent system. It facilitates access to a vast amount of patent information on a global level during the different stages of patent prosecution, especially in searches for prior art documents. Moreover, disclosure represents one of the main arguments to justify the existence of patent rights, but how much of this information is actually disclosed by machine translation? The present research aims to investigate the level of disclosure of patent information made possible by machine translation and its implications for patent law. The guiding research question is: How and to what extent is patent content actually disclosed by machine translation? In order to reach the results, a manual method of translation quality assessment was used to analyse a sample of 100 patents, combined in different pairs of languages. Machine translated patent texts were also submitted for evaluation by researchers skilled in the art. The research is also based on a review of legal and theoretical sources. The results proved that, although improvements in patent machine translation are still necessary, most of the content of the patent is disclosed through it, with the average disclosure being almost 80%. As the concept of disclosure is a central one to patent law, it is hoped that this research will contribute to a better understanding of the current role of machine translation in patent law.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)763-786
Number of pages24
JournalIIC - International Review of Intellectual Property and Competition Law
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2018


  • Machine translation Disclosure Patent content Person skilled in the art Patent law
  • Patent content
  • Machine translation
  • Disclosure
  • Person skilled in the art
  • Patent law


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