European ministers have reached agreement on a new EU-wide patent structure after lengthy negotiations but have failed to find a way past the biggest obstacle to an EU-wide patent: the cost of translation. Ministers have approved a new litigation system to deal with a new Europe-wide patent in a deal that will still require the …
Would that include English?
Perhaps El Reg brings particularly bad examples to my attention, but I don't think I've ever read a patent where a native English speaker could have told you what was protected. As long as obfuscation and ambiguity are the stock in trade of patent authors, the idea that they could be translated without a substantive change in meaning is simply absurd, and without that invariance the idea of a single EU patent is logically flawed.
English / Legalish
The problem affects those of us engineers who file patents too. I've filed a few patents in the course of my work: I write a draft in engineer's/technical English, which then comes back from the patent attorney in Legalish - and then I, the inventor (with no real knowledge of Legalish), has to try and figure out whether the attorney has covered my idea before it's filed... or has got totally the wrong end of the stick. It's not always obvious.
Return of the steamroller
Watch out as McGreedy and pals try and steamroller this stuff through the European Parliament, and I imagine that this proposal is like all that went before in its reinforcement of the completely unaccountable European Patent Office bureaucracy with its own self-serving definitions of what may be patentable. The icing on the cake is the role of the Swedish government, trying its best to become the European record holder in selling out to corporate interests.
McGreedy is gone
I wish I could could say it was because they were embarrassed, but the Irish Government will not be re-appointing McGreevy as a Commissioner.
McCreepy speaks (sort of)
"I welcome this political breakthrough as a very strong signal from the Council that the EU is committed to achieve a true single market for patents," said McCreevy. "A number of issues remain to be resolved and we undertake to work closely with the Council and the Parliament towards achieving a final package that will meet the trust and confidence of users."
Yeah, I'm really full of trust and confident about this announcement from McCreepy, the gobshite that did so much as Ireland's minister of finance to create the economy that has so totally fucked up Ireland.
I predict a patent system that will make the 'merkin system look good.
I always get worried when I hear politician describe something as "cost-effective"
Remember this is the gobshite that also said that although he had not read the Lisbon Treaty, he understood and endorsed it. On another occasion, when asked a question in the commission, he started waffling on about some anecdote related to horse racing that was so badly phrased the commissions' translators were unable to translate .
Alien Icon, heave you ever heard McCreepy speak, sorry make noises with his mouth...
"....the gobshite that did so much as Ireland's minister of finance to create the economy that has so totally fucked up Ireland."
I'd never heard of this bloke before. From that I take it he's the Irish version of Gordon Brown? I also take it that the Irish had the good sense not to reward his monumental incompetance by making him PM though.......
The EU is always bitching on about "harmonisation" as a means to foist its ways upon member states, so why don't they "harmonise" the official EU language to English and save a shed load on costs.
No? I didn't think so somehow.
Plenty of solutions
1) Make the patent trolls pay to have patents translated into every language up front. Let the victims of patents choose what language they want to defend with. That will make nuisance litigation a tiny bit more expensive.
2) Don't bother translating patents as no-one reads them looking for new ideas anyway. Solve all patent disputes by tossing a coin: cheaper for everyone involved and just as fair as the current system.
3) Stop issuing patents. Simply deny all applications because they are obvious extensions of current inventions or not patentable subject matter.
If you read the EC website, they actually have a bit in their FAQ saying something along the lines of "Oh, well, it's important for everybody in the EU to understand what is happening, so erm, we will continue to have lots of languages."
Which differs somewhat from their views on other matters, such as units of measurement, how your tax pounds are being spent and how your vote affects the democratic (?) processes of the EU. In these situations it is "Do what we tell you!!!"
How to solve difficult problems
Take note on how to solve difficult problems:
1. First, ignore the issue that is causing the greatest difficulty.
2. Propose solution with no regard to resolving said problem in 1.
3. Announce that someone else will solve said problem in 1 at some future date.
(Hey, sounds like patent-wording)
Yes, it's going to be really difficult to translate the long run-on sentences, in patents, from source language to various other languages. I predict 90% accuracy, at best and that will be with the best of the best translators which probably accounts for less than 5% of translators out there.
As pointed out even the English patents are unintelligible to native English speakers. So why not have something that is unintelligible to nearly everybody?
No one can now complain that someone else's language is being favoured.
I hope I'm not punished for posting a Wikipedia link on el reg.
I can't take credit for this but....
The European Commission has announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the EU, rather than German, which was the other contender. Her Majesty's Government conceded that English spelling had room for improvement and has therefore accepted a five-year phasing in of "Euro-English".
In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly, this will make sivil servants jump for joy. The hard "c" will be dropped in favour of the "k", Which should klear up some konfusion and allow one key less on keyboards.
There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year, when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with "f", making words like "fotograf" 20% shorter.
In the third year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible. Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horible mes of the silent "e" is disgrasful.
By the fourth yer, peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th" with "z" and "w" with "v".
During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining "ou" and similar changes vud of kors be aplid to ozer kombinations of leters. After zis fifz yer, ve vil hav a reli sensibl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubls or difikultis and everivun vil find it ezi to understand ech ozer. ZE DREM VIL FINALI COM TRU!
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