Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Francis Gurry said on Monday he expected China to become the world's second biggest international patent applicant in two years.
"China is arising into intellectual property and technological power; 14 percent of all international patent applications last year were from China. We expect this year to go about 17 or 18 percent, or even higher," Francis Gurry told the press as the UN agency unveiled a new neural machine translation tool on Monday to translate Chinese patent documents into English.
He said China ranked third in terms of the number of international patent applications filed in 2015. "We might expect it to achieve number two within the next two years," Gurry noted.
WIPO initially "trained" the new technology to translate Chinese, Japanese and Korean patent documents into English. Patent applications in those languages accounted for some 55 percent of worldwide filings in 2014.
The high level of accuracy of the Chinese-English translation is the result of the training of the neural machine translation tool, which compared 60 million sentences from Chinese patent documents provided to WIPO's PATENTSCOPE database by the State Intellectual Property Office of China with their translations as filed at the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
The neural machine translation can produce more natural word order, with particular improvements seen in so-called distant language pairs, like Chinese-English. WIPO said users can already try out the Chinese-English translation facility on the public beta test platform.
WIPO plans to extend the neural machine translation service to French-language patent applications, with other languages to follow.