Legal Cases That Demonstrate the Need for Professional Translators: Part 2

In previous posts, we’ve looked at the numerous financial and legal repercussions caused by poorly translated documents. The mistranslation of a single sentence in a quarterly earnings report for Sharp Corp. caused significant doubts for investors, stockholders, and potential customers about the ongoing existence of Sharp Corp. as a functioning financial entity. The case of Festo Corp. v. Shoketsu Kinzoku Kogyo Kabushiki Co. illustrates that an improper translation submitted to the USPTO may narrow the scope of the patent claim, since the mistranslation will necessitate an amendment to the patent document.  In the case of Semiconductor Energy Laboratory Co. v. Samsung, submission of only a partial patent translation led to a charge of inequitable conduct and rendered the patent unenforceable.  Highly qualified professional translators of legal, technical, and patent documents will be able to avoid these pitfalls by providing only the most linguistically and technically accurate translations and possessing an in-depth knowledge of the  patent process.

Today, we’ll look at two more court cases that highlight the consequences of using low-quality translations for legal purposes. You may risk having your translation rejected during the court case due to a poor translation process or questionable translator qualifications. You may also risk the invalidation of your patent claims due to the inadequate translation of a piece of prior art.

After the jump, read about the repercussions of low-quality translations in these two court cases, and learn how  you can obtain the highest-quality legal, technical, and patent translation!

Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation and Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation, Encysive Pharmaceuticals Inc., Glaxo Group Limited, Smithkline Beecham Plc, and Smithkline Beecham Corporation (doing business as Glaxosmithkline) v. Barr Laboratories, Inc. and Pliva-Hrvatska D.O.O. – 435 Fed. Appx. 927 (2011 U.S. App).

A crucial claim in your patent may be invalidated due to an inadequate translation of a single sentence in a piece of prior art. For instance, in the case of Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation, et al. v Barr Laboratories, Inc. and Pliva-Hrvatska D.O.O., the interpretation of the translation for a single sentence from a piece of prior art determined the validity of contested claims. According to the court decision (found via LexisNexis):

In the course of the litigation, the parties disputed the appropriate English translation of a single sentence in Yamamoto describing the preparation of an argatroban solution that was administered to laboratory rats for experimental purposes.   The district court considered four translations of the original Japanese text. After examining each translation, the court concluded that the only reliable translation was that of Mitsubishi’s expert, Martin Cross. […] Using Mr. Cross’s translation, the district court de-termined that Yamamoto does not anticipate any claim of the ‘052 patent.

A patent translation is more likely to be found credible by the court if a documented quality process is followed to create the translation. In the Mitsubishi case, the court rejected the translations submitted by the defendant due to errors that occurred during the translation process.  According to the court decision:

Mr. Hartmann himself produced two translations of Yamamoto, but the court discredited his final translation because Mr. Hartmann acknowledged significant errors in his original version and because he had not consulted with a native Japanese speaker while preparing his translation.

On Demand Machine Corporation v. Ingram Industries Inc., Lightning Source Inc., and Amazon.com, Inc. – Case No. 4:01CV1668MLM (2003 U.S. Dist.).

A court may reject a patent translation that isn’t created by a fully qualified translator with established credentials. In the case of On Demand Machine Corporation v. Ingram Industries, et al. the court states that in order for the Japanese application to be considered as prior art evidence by the court, it must be translated by a verifiably qualified translator.  According to the court decision:

Pursuant to the Federal Circuit’s holding in Contracts Materials, this court finds, in agreement with Plaintiff, that Rule 604 of the Federal Rules of Evidence is applicable to this court’s consideration of the Japanese Application, and that the person translating the Japanese Application must be qualified as a translator as required by Rule 604.

How to Avoid These Problems by Obtaining The Highest Quality Professional Translations

Individuals, companies, and organizations can avoid the translation problems described in the above cases by choosing a professional translation service that uses the most qualified technical translators and maintains strict quality control during the translation process. All translations prepared by Landon IP are meticulously checked by native-language editors and proofreaders for linguistic accuracy and cross-checked by in-house technology experts for technical accuracy during a proprietary quality control process, QuadCheckTM.

Customers who use Landon IP translation services are also guaranteed a translation created by highly qualified professional translators, while vendors with less rigorous standards may rely on translators without appropriate technical backgrounds or native-language skills. Landon IP hires only professional native-language technical translators who are also subject matter experts. Each of these translators is rigorously evaluated, interviewed, and tested, based on a comprehensive and stringent process designed by Landon to ensure linguistic, technical and patent expertise in the specific language pair. Landon IP translation services will provide customers with the most thorough and accurate translations due to the strong qualifications of our professional translators and the meticulous quality control process used to check each translation.

What other risks may a company face due to poorly translated legal, technical, or patent documents? Let us know in the comments!

Technical Translations from Landon IP

This post was contributed by Joelle Mornini. The Intellogist blog is provided for free by Intellogist’s parent company Landon IP, a major provider of patent searches, trademark searches, technical translations, and information retrieval services.

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2 Responses

  1. Nice post! Thanks for the ideas summed up here.

  2. […] unenforceable, as in Semiconductor Energy Laboratory Co. v. Samsung. Poor translations can also be rejected by courts, as in On Demand Machine Corporation v. Ingram Industries Inc., Lightning Source Inc., and […]

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