Patent law is generally said to be very difficult. If you ask business leaders about patents, they are more likely than not to evade discussion with a comment about how difficult patents are. Yet the concept behind the Patent Law is not that difficult. It is simply that someone who invents something or has a good idea should submit it to the Patent Office for examination and registration, and that patent registration carries the full force of state protection. People also have problems understanding patent specifications. Katsuo Ogawa, President of the Japan Intellectual Property Association, has commented that patent specifications are so difficult that not even the best machine translation programs using the best Japanese computers can translate them very well, and he argues that there should be some basic rules set for writing patent claims, such as requiring that every sentence have a subject and a predicate and setting a maximum sentence length of 70 characters. Yet when you ask people who actually translate patents if it is difficult, they tell you that it is not all that difficult - since they are writing for a very specialized audience and that the average lay reader is not going to understand the patent specification in the target language anyway. This is a terrible situation, mitigated only by the fact that American and European patent specifications are just as difficult. But if patent specifications were written in language that ordinary people could understand, the technology would find wider acceptance and wider use in society at large.
Last date updated on June, 2014