Case Study Procter & Gamble: How It Doubled Patent Filings While Reducing Costs

Introducing the second part of our series of case studies on how MultiLing helps multinational enterprises accomplish their global initiatives with the accurate, highly specialized, and secure translations of their intellectual property and/or technical materials.

Procter & Gamble – How It Doubled Patent Filings While Reducing Costs

With research facilities in North America, Europe and Asia, Procter & Gamble (P&G) spends billions of dollars annually inventing new procedures, chemical compounds, and products such as soaps, detergents, cleaners, and cosmetics. P&G files hundreds of patents annually in more than 31 countries and holds approximately 35,000 patents in its portfolio, making it one of the largest and
most valuable patent portfolios in the world.

Key Challenges

In 2001, P&G was faced with a major decision: cut costs or reduce the number of foreign patent filings to meet its budget. With translation costs rising, markets and foreign jurisdictions expanding, and management complexity exploding, P&G knew some dramatic changes had to be made. One vital, yet major expense of the international patent filing process is translation, accounting for nearly 40 percent of P&G’s international prosecution costs. Until this point P&G handed their patents to foreign agents, independent translators and other administrative personnel across the globe. Another contributor to cost was the non-uniform and decentralized process associated with relying on an ever expanding network of in-country patent law firms for patent translation. These firms often justified high fees based on the sensitivity of translation projects, and the rarity of translators with the specialized
technical education and expertise required for the subjects being translated. The complexity of using multiple law firms added to P&G’s administrative overhead, and increased error risks associated with too many people handling documents.

Solution Strategy

With the goal of reducing cost, risk, and complexity, P&G crafted a comprehensive initiative containing the following requirements:

• Translators must to be in-country, native speaking and vetted for subject
matter quality
• Translators must have patent specific experience and technical knowledge
in the technical subject matter area being translated
• P&G must own and control its language IP and terminology must be
managed from a centralized location
• P&G must reduce overall patent prosecution costs by 20 percent

Other factors considered during P&G’s search for a translation provider: a centralized point of contact with highly specialized human capital; terminology management capability for the proper and consistent use of terminology across all languages; translation memory for the reuse of previously translated text; and, coordinated quality assurance oversight.

Download the Case Study Procter & Gamble