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Patent Vocabulary

William Lise (New-Tech, Ltd. www.lise.jp)produced a general Japanese-to-English Patent Glossary, and a list of "Two-Kanji Compounds that are used in Patent Specifications. With his permission, these have been combined together in a file with a format that can be used in any language dictionary program capable of manipulating EDICT files. The files can also be used in word processors that can handle Japanese characters and euc files. This file is offered for free download here (49K).

The file "patent.euc" was compiled from the two patent glossaries that William Lise maintained on his site. One was a general Japanese-to-English Patent Glossary, and the other was "Two-Kanji Compounds that are used in Patent Specifications." Bill Lise (New-Tech, Ltd. www.lise.jp) has given me permission to offer the electronic-dictionary version here.

If you don't already have a good Japanese dictionary program, I highly recommend the free Japanese word-processing program, JWPce. It can be downloaded at www.physics.ucla.edu/~grosenth/c_download.htmll. Put all the files, including these dictionaries in the same directory. Then run the JWPce program. To install the dictionaries select Utilities, Dictionary, Options, Dictionaries, Add, Browse, Patent.euc, OK, OK, OK, Done. You can attach multiple dictionaries, and they will all be automatically searched. The JWPce program is also a convenient way to generate Japanese text to use when doing patent searches, and it can be used to change Japanese file formats from one type to another (Utilities, Options, File/Clipboard, Clipboard options).

Patent Searching

Japanese patents can be searched on the internet. The English language site for the Japan Patent Office is http://www.jpo.go.jp/. It has the most complete Japanese patent collection. However, it has a confusing interface, is often off line, and behaves erratically. English abstracts can be searched at www19.ipdl.jpo.go.jp/PA1/cgi-bin/PA1INDEX. The Japan Patent Office Industrial Property Digital Library is at http://wwww.ipdl.jpo.go.jp/homepg_e.ipdl.

The Japan Patent Office provides only limited services on the English pages. The URL for the Japanese language page is: www.ipdl.jpo.go.jp/homepg.ipdl Under "Tokkyo kensaku he" pick "Tokkyo jitsuyou shinan kouhou DB" out of the list. This source of Japanese patents allows you obtain the documents as electronic text files from about 1995.

For number searches, the input format is H01-000001. (Pad the numbers with leading zeros if necessary.) Starting in the year 2000, it is possible to use either Western calendar years or Japanese era years (example, either 2000-123456 or H12-123456). "H" stands for the Heisei era; add 1988 to the number to convert to the Western calendar date. "S" stands for the Shouwa era; add 1925. "T" stands for Taisho, add 1911; and "M" is for Meiji, add 1867.

It is generally easier to search Japanese patents using the European Patent Office at ep.espacenet.com/. The legibility of the patents they offer is excellent. However, the documents are scanned rather than being electronic text files.

A usful publication entitled "A Guide to Japan's Patent System" can be downloaded at www.technology.gov/Reports/JapanPatent/pages.pdf. It was published in 1995 by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Technology Policy, Asia–Pacific Technology Program and was authored by Mindy L. Kotler and Gary W. Hamilton, Esq. It is an Acrobat file and is 72 pages long (511K).

© 2011 Madelon Mottet

Contact information:
Madelon Mottet
madelon@japanese-translating.com or madelon.mottet@gmail.com