Unless MotionPoint and TransPerfect come to an agreement before the weekend, the two sides will begin presenting their arguments in a California court next week. At issue are four patents held by MotionPoint and three by TransPerfect. Each company claims that the other infringes on its patents. The seven patents comprise more than 200 claims and, if enforced, could have an enormous impact on the growing business of translation technology.
Why should this trial concern anyone other than the litigants? The patents affect every translation software product that we can think of, from traditional translation memory to translation management systems, to machine translation. If either side prevails and their patents are upheld by the court, the winning company could assert its rights and ask many software vendors to license the technology, develop alternative approaches to fundamental problems, or exit the business (see “The Attack of the TMS Patents,” Dec11). This technology accounts for about US$1.1 billion of annual revenue, but more importantly its use by translators and language service providers underpins much of the industry (see “The Language Services Market: 2013,” May13).