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Stop Making These Three Patent Filing Mistakes, Says Our Jeremy Coombs

In an article on today’s IPFrontline.com, senior VP of operations at MultiLing, Jeremy Coombs, outlined what he sees as the three biggest patent filing mistakes companies are making when drafting and filing their patent applications domestically and worldwide. While his suggestions on how to combat them won’t guarantee zero risk, they will decrease the chance of unnecessary litigation when patent filing and better prepare you to fight the litigation if it arises.

While the full article can be read at http://ipfrontline.com/2016/01/three-biggest-gaffes-that-increase-the-risk-of-patent-litigation/, here are some points that will paint the picture:

  1. Be aware of what’s on the market so you’ll be more aware of the uniqueness of your product.
  2. Make sure your original patent application is accurate and clear, which, according to the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Michelle K. Lee, give patent owners “a clear notice of the boundaries of their patent rights.” It also helps ensure subsequent applications in other languages begin with accurate and clear content.
  3. Ensure your patent translation service providers employs true experts – in-country, native speakers intimately familiar with the cultural nuances critical to how words are used or phrased, as well as experts in the science of your invention and patent law in the countries in which you’re seeking protection.

Are you already doing the above, or have you suffered from mistakes you – or your company – have made when filing for patent protection? We’d love to speak with you about how MultiLing’s team of native linguists, scientists, engineers and legal specialists can help you decrease the risk of litigation.

Patent Translation Isn’t Possible Without People—Invest In Them

B2C_LogoAt MultiLing, we frequently talk about the technology we use for patent translation and the efficiencies it brings. But the truth is, no matter how savvy the technology, we couldn’t translate without people. In his latest Business2Community column, MultiLing CEO Michael Sneddon highlights exactly this idea:

“While I previously wrote about the importance of building long-standing relationships with clients, equally important are the relationships developed between employee peers, employees and managers or executives, and executives and members of the board. These relationships are fundamental for the success of any organization,” writes Sneddon.

MultiLing executives took a trip last March and spent 10 days at four offices in Asia, with the goal of learning firsthand how each employee feels about the company. After meeting one-on-one with 83 of the company’s 90+ employees in Japan, Korea, China and Taiwan, they had a better understanding and common strategy for what needed to be done to help strengthen the company in the region. They also came away a feeling of mutual trust from each employee with whom we had met.

MultiLing_Michael_Sneddon“This type of interaction with company directors is not a cultural norm, but it definitely worked—and was obviously much appreciated. Nearly every employee opened up very quickly, creating a real sense of camaraderie and trust even in a short 10-15 minutes,” continues Sneddon. “They are now open and ready for additional training to help improve the company.”

This is only one example of the value that people—and their relationships—bring to an organization, and the importance of investing in those people along the way. However, if you don’t have the budget to travel or time to meet with every employee, Sneddon proposed other ideas as well. For example, getting to know employees can be as simple as using flashcards to help you learn and remember faces and names, job responsibilities and something personal about each employee.

Additionally, help employees get to know each other with team-building activities. Encourage and recognize employees in their activities outside of the office, whether that’s caring for family or volunteer work or hobbies. Finally, don’t be afraid to invest in employees with professional opportunities they are interested in—it will only give you a better employee!

You can read the full B2C article here.

Selling with confidence, delivering with excellence

Michael DegnMichael Degn, senior vice president of global sales, joined MultiLing two years ago and has made a great impression on the business. He is responsible for the management and output of global sales strategies, including client services and account management teams. Degn has more than 20 years of experience in sales leadership and has led sales efforts in the software and certification industries. He is known for his ability to build relationships with partners and clients, and for successfully managing and growing sales teams.

At MultiLing, Degn is particularly valued for his motivational management style. We had a chance to ask him some more questions about his leadership and vision for MultiLing’s future. Here is what he had to say:

What was your first impression of MultiLing? I thought MultiLing had quite a unique environment with all the different language teams working steadily, side-by-side, to make critical things happen on time for clientele all over the world. I loved the “United Nations” feel to the place. Everyone seemed to be enjoying what they were doing and everyone I met was so friendly. I felt welcomed at once.

What attracted you to MultiLing? It’s a great organization with a lot of moving parts—all working together and aimed at helping companies bring their inventions to life for the rest of the world. By helping these companies and their scientists translate their patents and file them around the world, we are essentially part of the process of offering new technology—and even new medical treatments—that can drastically improve the quality of life for so many. The people here take pride in that.

Tell us about your background and what expertise you bring to MultiLing. I’ve been involved in sales for a long time and have always enjoyed working in sales management. I have had the opportunity to work with several great sales organizations, as well as with some that weren’t terribly effective. I feel this exposure has given me a good understanding of what works—and what doesn’t. I love the team we have here at MultiLing—they are dedicated and smart, and always have our clients’ best interests at heart.

What do you feel are your greatest strengths? I’d say my greatest strength is helping a sales team reach its potential. I help them put together a scalable methodology and process that allows them to succeed. I also like to work with the operations side of the house so we are all focused on the needs of our clients. Having this specific familiarity really enhances our ability to both sell with confidence and deliver with excellence.

What is your leadership style? I guess you could say my style is motivational. I try to keep things positive and moving forward. I believe in hiring talented and self-driven employees—people who are smart. Once they have the right tools I just try to stay out of their way. Of course I offer guidance as needed, but then I let them do what they have been hired to do. Everyone on the team has a pretty clear picture of what we are trying to accomplish and where we want to be. There are few things I enjoy more on a professional level than seeing the individuals on my team succeed.

MultiLing has enjoyed some rapid growth in the past few years. How do you plan to continue the momentum? Success breeds success. When you are doing something right, people take notice and want to be involved. Our clients know they are being well taken care of and they help spread the word to others within their organization and to their counterparts throughout the industry. We also have a very capable and highly competent sales team—people who know how to help companies get the most out of the services we provide.

What are your responsibilities as head of worldwide sales? As head of worldwide sales, I oversee the efforts of all our sales regions. Together with the sales captains in these offices, we set goals and develop tactical plans. We do this for each region and then use the plans as a road map. Of course these plans have to be a bit flexible and we usually do some tweaking along the way. It’s important to keep the sales organization—and its goals and focus—aligned with the corporation’s vision and values. We want to continue to grow and I enjoy playing a part in making that happen. The best part of my job is getting to know all the people on our worldwide sales team quite well. As I’ve mentioned before, they are smart and I learn a lot by listening to them.

How do you define success in this position? My chief responsibility is to increase revenue. I’ve found when you focus on clients’ needs and you do what you say you will do, the revenue tends to take care of itself. Success is a natural byproduct of a sales team focused on building and retaining trust with our clients and working closely with our internal teams. It takes a lot of work and collaboration, but it can be quite enjoyable.

What are the greatest market needs you see? What solutions can MultiLing offer? Most companies are facing the challenge of tightening budgets. MultiLing salespeople love walking into a company and showing them at least one area where we can help them cut costs. With our streamlined translation model and proven processes, we are able to show our clients again and again how we can help them translate and file patents for a lower overall cost.

What do you most look forward to in this position? I really look forward to working with my great team. I love working with people who are more concerned about integrity than they are about the dollar. MultiLing is a company that likes to do things right—there are outstanding people who work here and it has been my pleasure to get to know many of them. As a whole, I believe we make a strong team. I have also enjoyed meeting the people we serve. I always look forward to visiting our clients, either in their offices or at conferences, and getting to know them on an individual basis.

Where do you see MultiLing in the next year? 5 years? I see MultiLing continuing to grow at a healthy rate. It can be hard to grow as fast as we are and keep the wonderful working environment that has been at MultiLing for the past three decades. There has always been a close-knit and warm culture within the walls at MultiLing and no one wants to lose that. I know everyone in the company is dedicated to seeing us grow and to maintaining the warm atmosphere in which we work. That’s what makes this place special and I think it is reflected in our work. So, five years from now I predict we will be much as we are today—only bigger and even more.

Easing the Transition of Change: 5 Tips from a CEO

B2C_LogoKeeping pace with the lightning fast changes born of technology is a stressful and daunting task. Michael Sneddon, MultiLing CEO, recently published an article in Business2Community with some tips for embracing change since it is clear that the rate at which we are searching out and adopting new tools and processes is not slowing down.

MultiLing_Michael_Sneddon“Ironically, our seemingly insatiable passion for innovation sometimes results in changes we then resist. This is especially true with change in our lives that is driven by others.” remarked Sneddon.

Resistance to change and the lack of leadership and knowledge needed to affect change is well documented. Sneddon references an IBM survey revealing that only 40 percent of professional around the world believe they have the right skills in place to successfully manage “change projects.” However, having led—and continuing to lead—his patent translation company through change has given Sneddon some insights on how to make transitions smoother for your employees and even yourself.

Sneddon believes that mental preparation, patience, practice, encouragement and open discussion are all key steps to managing and embracing change.

“Change can be difficult, especially after decades, or even just years, of doing things a certain way. Being willing to accept and embrace change—and helping others do the same—is the key to success, personally and in business. Nothing stays the same, so it’s futile to try to hold on to the past,” concluded .

Read the full article here.

Science or Art? Accurate IP Translations Need Both, Says Coombs

UnknownJeremy Coombs, senior vice president of operations at MultiLing, recently posted an article about the debate of science vs. art in IP translations on the GALA blog.

“Is translation a creative process or simply the cold “one-to-one” transformation of words from one language to another? In my experience, art wins out in most debates,” wrote Coombs.

However, specific texts, such as intellectual property documents that are very scientific in nature, will require precision and exactness. Coombs wonders if Einstein and Shakespeare can meet and whether science and art can coexist.

“When we consider translation from the perspective of science, we see many theories and models that attempt to explain communication,” continued Coombs. “For example, the Shannon and Weaver model conceptualizes communication (and translation, by extension), as a process of encoding a source message and transmitting this message to a receiver, which then decodes the message. The success of this process is determined by the receiver’s understanding of the source message.”

However,all writing is a creative process and when representing an invention, word choice is key. Coombs believes that the most skilled translators possess both the mind of a scientist and the heart of an artist. Interestingly, in the patent realm when someone understands the science behind an invention they are said to be skilled in the art.

“Authors and translators learn the preferences of their audience and adapt their art and tools appropriately—including adopting technology tools such as terminology management software to ensure consistency across a team of translators.

“Invention and translation. Both processes require the thorough weaving of art and science. Leonardo da Vinci would be proud,” concluded Coombs.

Jeremy Coombs is the senior vice president of operations at MultiLing, the innovative leader in intellectual property (IP) translations and related support services for foreign patent filings. He joined MultiLing in 1999 and has become one of the company’s principal operations and technology minds. In his current role, he manages large-scale translation and localization projects for companies such as Dell, LSI Corporation, Qlogic, Intuit, and GE Healthcare.


3 Essentials for Reducing Litigation Risk When Protecting IP

by Jeremy Coombs, PMP, MultiLing Senior Vice President of Operations

The world’s largest biotechnology companies file thousands of domestic and foreign patents each year to protect their valuable intellectual property. Unfortunately, the successful filing and issuance of a patent doesn’t ensure its safety. In fact, a poorly drafted patent—one with inaccurate or incomplete details and terminology from the start, before any translation begins—may result in patents being challenged in court by competition and ultimately invalidated.

To reduce the possibility of litigation long before it happens, companies must repeatedly implement best practices with a focus on quality from the start, including:

  • The quality of the patent itself;
  • The quality of the legal counsel; and
  • The quality of the translations that facilitate foreign patent filings aimed at protecting IP on a global scale.

Let’s look at these a little more closely:

Ensure Quality Patent Applications from the Start. Quality patent applications—with precise and specific terminology—ensure that the specific invention is covered accurately in the original language so subsequent translations begin from quality documents. Those drafting patent applications must know the market, the subject matter and the relevant inventions that have been patented previously and those that are in public domain.

Contract with Quality Legal Teams Familiar with Filing Processes. In addition to subject matter experts, only work with knowledgeable legal practitioners that are up to date with the current laws, rules and procedures in the jurisdictions in which you are seeking protection. Companies or inventors that understand the significance of inadvertent disclosure, for example, ensure that their legal team works closely with their R&D and marketing teams before making any information about the invention public. For example, an enterprise working with a large IP law firm learned this the hard way. The firm received an urgent call from the client just 24 hours before a presentation in Japan. Due to a lack of communication among product, legal and marketing teams, the enterprise needed a patent application translated and filed before disclosure to avoid losing its patent rights in various countries. Under great stress and at significant added costs, the firm completed the request, but this fire drill was a costly misstep for the enterprise.

Hire Expert Translators with Streamlined Quality Processes. Patent terminology plays a huge role in litigation, regardless of where the litigation originates. This is why all patent filings should be carefully and precisely drafted and then translated by specialized teams that include in-country native linguists, scientists and legal specialists who are familiar with the applicable technology. Ensure your patent translation service provider uses terminology management systems that will keep track of terms that may be less common, or that need to remain precise, and that are consistent across multiple languages in a streamlined database.

Even one misused word can leave a patent vulnerable to litigation, as well as create costly delays during the review of the patent application. For example, while European translations of chemical names can look very similar to English speakers, only an experienced chemist could employ the proper Chinese equivalent.
The difference of a single letter in English (e.g., “methyl” and “ethyl” in a long chemical name) changes the entire name of the chemical in Chinese. Having the wrong chemical in the translation can render that portion of the patent unenforceable.

Although the only way to eliminate the risk of litigation completely is to stop doing business altogether, this leaves the world with an obvious undesirable impact on growth, prosperity and continual change in commerce. Ensuring that quality documents are created by quality people, processes and technologies will go a long way in reducing overall risk and minimizing negative impact on enterprising business across the globe. This is especially critical as biotechnology companies continue to produce more and more IP that needs to be protected worldwide.

Meet MultiLing for Bio Patent Translation Services

How does a patent translations services company make waves and get noticed at a life sciences trade show like the 2015 BIO International Convention—where 1,700 exhibitors are competing for a captive audience?

LSIPRMultiLing received an excellent introduction to BIO attendees when an editor for Life Sciences Intellectual Property Review (LSIPR) published an interview with Michael Degn, MultiLing senior vice president of worldwide sales. The article, titled BIO 2015: Lost in translation? Meet MultiLing, highlighted how MultiLing’s patent translation services can help life sciences companies to better protect their R&D around the world.

Michael DegnSaid Degn, “The clients we work with are multi-billion dollar companies, but they have budgets. And budgets are getting consolidated, and contracted. We’re trying to figure out how we, for less money, can give them the same coverage.”

MultiLing consistently invests in its people, process and technology to help clients around the world accurately translate their IP for foreign patent filings. Using a streamlined model to produce consistently accurate translations, MultiLing is able to offer its clients faster time to grant, fewer office actions and a lower total cost of patent ownership.

Access the full interview from the MultiLing newsroom.

In the News: Three Skills of a Quality Patent Translator

B2C_LogoMultiLing is always on the lookout for another excellent patent translator and the company has learned a thing or two about their key characteristics. Michael Sneddon, MultiLing president and CEO, recently shared some requirements the company has of its patent translators in an article for Business2Community.

“For the inexperienced company preparing to expand internationally, seeking, finding and qualifying competent patent translation services to assist with overseas patent applications or other technical translations isn’t necessarily a high priority. It should be, however, as even one inaccurate or confusing translation can jeopardize the entire operation, or at least potentially cost millions of dollars in lost revenue and damaged brand reputation.

MultiLing_Michael_SneddonWhile accurately translating product and marketing materials is important, translating patents is even more so, with the scope of an entire product defined and judged forever by what is included in the final patent. As a result, being a patent translator requires much more than just a bilingual background. The position requires having the same level of technical expertise as the individual writing the original patent. Without this expertise, a company greatly increases its risk of costly litigation and potential loss of intellectual property (IP) protection.”

Sneddon maintains that technical expertise, language expertise—both with linguistics and legal jargon, as well as understanding the patent filing system are three areas of knowledge where a patent translator should be a subject matter expert.

Link to the full article in the MultiLing newsroom for examples of why patent translators need this expertise and how you can know if they possess it.

In the News: MultiLing Quietly Handles Business Translations for Global Commerce

daily heraldProvo, Utah’s local newspaper – the Daily Herald – published an article Sunday about MultiLing’s quiet presence in the city, while at the same time being a hugely global company as it provides business translations for intellectual property departments at global enterprises. MultiLing has had its headquarters in Provo since being founded in 1988 by Michael Sneddon, who is currently president and CEO.

MultiLing_Michael_SneddonThe Daily Herald reported on the company’s strategy and unique culture: “For the first decade of the company’s operations, Sneddon drew on the natural linguistic talents…and the many international speakers that flocked to the valley. The company translated anything and everything. That changed 17 years ago.”

Sneddon saw an opportunity to focus on translating technical patents for companies and “really innovated the way corporations translate the legal documents associated with patents,” said Lyle Ball, COO.

“We’ve specialized ourselves in highly technical patents….All of our translators need to speak three languages, actually – their native language, English, and lawyer-speak,” commented Jeremy Coombs, senior vice president of operations.

And Coombs, who’s been at MultiLing for almost 17 years, enjoys rubbing shoulders with 20 to 30 cultures each day. “Our office is a little U.N. here, but the MultiLing culture is the recipe that holds us together,” Coombs added.

You can access the full article in the MultiLing news room.

The Human Value in Document Translation – Even When Done by Machine

New reports forecast growth of the machine translation market at nearly 25 percent in the next four years, with technological improvements likely along the way. With such expectations, It’s tempting to believe computers will soon perform professional document translation services well enough that there soon will be no need for human translators.

UnknownBut Jeremy Coombs, senior vice president of operations at MultiLing, shares why he believes it’s not time yet to give up on humans in the near future. In an article for the GALA blog he outlines how humans who specialize in their native languages, cultures and fields of expertise still need to be involved in the majority of translations, even while technology such as machine translation plays an important role in making valuable content in one language accessible to all.

MultiLing-Jeremy-Coombs-en“The need for and value of human translators is especially true for intellectual property, particularly patent applications, where even one mistranslated word can result in invalidated patents and millions of lost revenue.”

Read the full article here.