Dictionary of Intellectual Property/Wörterbuch Gewerblicher Rechtsschutz

The book
Kettler Stefan
Wörterbuch Gewerblicher Rechtsschutz und Urheberrecht – Dictionary of Intellectual Property and Unfair Competition Law
Deutsch-Englisch/Englisch-Deutsch (deutsch/englisch)

This dictionary appeared earlier this year but I have not found many reviews of it. This is not a review either – just a description. But I have just had to translate a trademark case (which I occasionally refer to below) and so at last I was able to form a more concrete, if superficial, impression.

To put the cart before the horse, I have the impression this is a highly reliable specialized dictionary which I would use beside Uexküll (see below) for texts in this field.


The dictionary can be bought at amazon.de, where there is already one review, giving it five stars. When I saw the review was by Inge Noeninger, a German translator who lives in New Brunswick, I realized it could be taken seriously!

Inge praises the dictionary as up-to-date and likes the appendices, especially the abbreviations and also the Nice classes, RAL colours and periodic table.

Beck Verlag also has details. It also links to a further review by Andreas Wisuschil on a German legal blog, Blog für gewerblichen Rechtsschutz.

And there is now an excerpt available at Kater Verlag.

(click on Entscheidungshilfe)

The competition
I should add that I always use Uexküll too:

Alexa von Uexküll-Güldenband, Wörterbuch der Patent- und Markenpraxis / Dictionary of Patent and Trade Mark Terms DE > EN EN > DE, Carl Heymanns Verlag, 6th ed. 2003

LATER NOTE (and see at end of post): There is a 2007 edition too, and both editions have a lot of useful extra material. I have always found Uexküll very useful. An 8th edition is about to appear (August 2011). Anyone want to buy my 6th ed.?


Information on use
Abbreviations used

Dictionary part
EN > DE 252 pages
DE > EN 244 pages

English abbreviations
German abbreviations
Geographical designations EN > DE
Geographical designations DE > EN
Two-letter country codes
Goods and services – 9th ed. of Nice Classification EN > DE
Goods and services – 9th ed. of Nice Classification DE > EN
RAL colours EN > DE (in colour)
RAL colours DE > EN (in colour)
Periodic table of the elements DE > EN

Miscellaneous remarks

No big problems looking things up – it can be time-consuming in paper versions of Dietl and Romain, but their subject is wider.

How authoritative are the German Nice classes? My customers normally use unexpected and confusing terms.

The Nice classification is restricted to the class headings. A colleague points out that the full list is much longer. Still, this is a starting point. Although the German version is not authoritative, it is provided by WIPO, so here you can search by class heading or by alphabet.

Patitia is a good place to search in German and find the English. But I never find quite what I am looking for on the various websites. Still, it is excellent that the dictionary has the class headings in both languages.

I asked some other translators on a list what they thought such a dictionary might tell them. The big question of the usage of the terms intellectual property and industrial property came up. I think this has to be sorted out by the translator outside a small dictionary. In any case, German does use geistiges Eigentum and gewerbliche Schutzrechte, so it distinguishes. The difficulty comes up more in considering US/UK/EU terminology. The problem also came up that the German term Schutzrechtsanmeldung might be translated as application for a protective right, or more specifically as application for a patent (or whatever). This is a general DE > EN translation problem: it would be more natural in English to use a more specific term, but a dictionary is not likely to help with this.

In the preface, Dr. Kettler says that the dictionary is intended for lawyers, and it is intended to have enough general legal terms to reduce the need for a lawyer to turn to another dictionary (whereas I would turn to other dictionaries first). Specifically, he says that he has both specialist vocabulary for experts and general legal terminology for beginners. Most legal translators will know that terminology or seek it elsewhere, but there is enough specialist material to more than compensate for this. It may be that many German lawyers are restricted by their firms in their internet use and may not have access to dictionaries on CD.
I liked the translation of Verkehr as public. My database records something like persons involved in business dealings. Here’s an example for context: ‚der Verkehr hört zwei ähnliche Marken nicht gleichzeitig’.

Kettler has aufmerksamer Verbraucher (attentive consumer), Uexküll hasn’t. Uexküll has Widerspruchsmarke (opposing trade mark), Kettler hasn’t.

I had to consider the expression ergänzen – products complement each other. This wasn’t in either dictionary. But complement and complementary could be found on EU sites. Of course dictionaries don’t have to have every term, but this was one I found confusing in its particular context. Whether complement is the standard specific equivalent I do not know.

When I translate, I usually have Dietl and Romain at hand, sometimes von Beseler. It is enough to open two of these. Newer terms can be researched online. When the text requires, I will also reach for a more specialized dictionary such as Zahn, Doucet-Fleck, Russwurm on Austrian law, Metzger on Swiss law, Uexküll and now Kettler. And not just dictionaries – here I have the printed translation of the Markengesetz.

The term Schutzerstreckungsverfahren didn’t really present problems and seems to be rare. I had to work out what to do about it myself. It refers to the continuation of proceedings with reference to a mark that has not been refused protection. Actually, Uexküll has Schutzerstreckung: pipeline protection, which wouldn’t quite fit my case referring to confectionery.

The list of abbreviations would have helped with PMMA – Google produces links like PMMA butt injections permanent, which is not relevant – but I did not look in the appendix.

PMMA Protokoll zum Madrider Abkommen über die internationale Registrierung von Marken (Madrider Markenprotokoll) (27.06.1989)

The Madrid Agreement is in the dictionary, but not the Protocol.

There are appendices on geographical terminology – this appears very full, although my first reaction was that I would find this on a variety of websites – and the periodic table, which is bilingual and in colour, so I am sure I will be referring to it some time.

Incidentally, there is a lot of – but not too much – prefatory material on the design of the dictionary, but I have been too lazy to read this through.

So in summary, just on a brief consultation, a dictionary worth adding to one’s collection if one translates in this area.

LATER NOTE: A colleague points out that the latest edition of Uexküll is 2007 and all editions of Uexküll have a useful set of appendices. The 2003 edition also has abbreviations and conversion tables at the back, although it does not have the PMA abbreviation which the 2007 version does. Mine also has useful diagrams of the patent systems of Germany, the UK, the USA and the EPO at the front. It’s certainly moot whether anyone who has Uexküll and the internet is going to need Kettler as well. I must say that I did not understand the German review at amazon.de which said that the existing legal dictionaries are not detailed and up-to-date enough in comparison with Kettler – perhaps the reviewer does not know Uexküll.


(I drafted this entry before I read about the Utah Court)

I recently ‘attended’ a webinar about how translators can use corpora to investigate their target language.

I’ve been fascinated by corpora since I first encountered the Collins Cobuild English dictionary when I was teaching English – I think it was in the 1990s. The dictionary was quite a milestone: it used a database of usage examples to show that what people say is not always the same as what language teachers say they say.

Once I even tried to learn Python, after Mark Liberman said it was a good project for Christmas, but I did not get very far and suspect he has a larger brain than I have.

If you’ve got a free weekend or two, you could do a lot worse than to spend some time messing around with Python and NLTK — there’s even an online book to guide you.

I’ve also been to a (bricks-and-mortar) seminar on corpora, but at that time I did not follow it up by preparing my own corpus.

And this is where the ecpd webinar was so helpful, because it got me that far in half an hour the following evening, using free software (BootCat and AntConc).

In a later post I will give a description of how it works.

What you are doing with BootCat is creating a corpus made of texts from the internet, presumably html ones, so it’s not that different from a Google custom search engine, which you can make for yourself

But with the second program (AntConc in my case) you can analyze the language in a variety of interesting ways.

The webinar was Using Corpora in Translation run by eCPD Webinars

What I don’t know is how useful corpora are for legal translation. The third part of the webinar was on this subject. It was suggested that analyzing legal English in this way would be particularly interesting for legal translators who are not lawyers. I should think it would be interesting for legal translators who are lawyers too! and for lawyers who want to talk about law in English. Most lawyers forget a lot of their law, and they don’t necessarily think about the language of the law in the way a translator needs to.

But translating legal texts from one language and system to another is not the same as writing about a legal system in its original language.

A German lawyer who wants to write legal English could learn a lot from a well-constructed corpus. Areas of law that suggest themselves: judgments (the formal style), legal correspondence (formal style). Areas that seem more problematic are contracts (where the legal equivalence must be checked and apparently similar clauses cannot be taken over lock stock and barrel) and all law which differs between the source and target legal systems (here an explanation is needed).

A potential source for a corpus of English judgments is www.bailii.org

One might assume that the EU bilingual databases/TM would be useful for all lawyers writing about EU law in various languages. But these are inconsistent.

More weblinks/Nochmal Internetlinks

Still not posting much, so here are three links.

1. TestYourVocab is a site where you can get an informed estimate of the size of your English vocabulary. Average sizes for native speakers and non-native speakers are given at the end. Via Johnson.

2. Stan at Sentence First has an entry on Online IPA Keyboards, and the comments give more suggestions (this interests me because I sometimes want to discuss pronunciation).

3. The Obiter J blog, which I’ve recommended before for information on English law, has a summary of the differences in Norwegian law – a very different legal system. Among other links is one to a Guardian article on Norwegian prisons.

4. A nice post on Amy Winehouse on the LRB blog. You can’t hear the version of ‘Valerie’ linked to in Germany, but there are others on Youtube you can hear.

5. A new version of ApSIC X-Bench has appeared – see post by Lisa on Ü wie Übersetzen – XBench lets you search bilingual texts for vocabulary and is free of charge (I haven’t used it for a while so won’t say more than that it is very useful).

Photos from London/Fotos aus London

Statue of Yuri Gagarin (only there for a year, alas – the British Council wouldn’t let me see his spacesuit as you have to book in advance):


Tottenham Court Road tube station:

Valuable cure for high blood pressure. I fancy the green hand:

Heirloomic assistance:

Corpus used in Utah court/Gericht in Utah benutzt Korpus

Mark Liberman at Language Log cites a Utah court that has relied on corpus linguistics. It was necessary to define the word custody in connection with a child, and some of the dictionary definitions were irrelevant. He cites Gordon Smith at Conglomerate:

Today, my former colleague and current Utah Supreme Court Justice Tom Lee used corpus linguistics in a lengthy concurring opinion (the relevant section starts at page 34). In this opinion, Justice Lee is interpreting the word “custody,” and he brings corpus linguistics to the fight. Of course, it’s no accident that Stephen Mouritsen is Justice Lee’s law clerk, but the bigger point here is that Justice Lee was persuaded — as I am — of the value of corpus linguistics to shed light on this interpretive question. Justice Lee’s collegues are not enamored with the approach, but you can read the opinions for yourself and see who gets the better of the argument.

This was apparently the first judicial decision ever to rely on a corpus.

The question arises, and I want to turn to it shortly, whether corpora are useful for legal translation. My feeling is that a corpus could be useful to reveal the style of judgments, but less so when it comes to contracts. But that might be because I believe that a translation of German law into English should not deny its foreign origins. But more shortly,in connection with a webinar on corpora I ‘attended’ recently.

Liver birds/Deutscher 50 Jahre nach seinem Tod geehrt

The Liver birds, a Liverpool landmark, were made by a German who had taken British citizenship twenty years early but nevertheless was treated as an enemy alien during the First World War and forced to return to Germany, leaving his wife and child behind, after the war. Carl Bernard Bartels, whose father was a Black Forest woodcarver, did manage to return to England, but it’s only this week that he has been given some honour – on the centenary of the building. The Guardian:

“He also made artificial limbs for servicemen in the second world war,” said his great-grandson Tim Olden, a graphic artist from Southampton who is one of 13 family members travelling to Liverpool to receive the award. “But it’s only very recently that he has started to get real recognition. My mother took a ‘let things lie’ attitude, but one of her last wishes was to go and see the birds, and Liverpool gave her a warm welcome.”

The visit in 1998 began Liverpool’s rediscovery of Bartels, including his skill as the first person to sculpt a nonexistent bird only previously portrayed in drawings and paintings. He also managed to create a male and female, giving rise to the scouse legend that one or the other flaps its wings if a virgin or an honest man walks along Pier Head.

Presumably that’s why they never flap their wings.

Interpreting and translation links/Links zu Übersetzen und Dolmetschen

A new book – in German – Gerichtsdolmetschen, by Christiane Driesen and Haimo-Andreas Petersen – table of contents here.

(Via uepo.de)

Peter Newmark has died – more here. I believe he was originally a Germanist.

There has been a bizarre German blog contest called Frauen-Blog-WM 2011. This has been won by a translator’s blog, buurtaal by Alexandra Kleijn.

Hitler’s talking dogs/Hitlers sprechende Hunde

I suppose in view of the earnestness of German alsatian owners’ societies I should not be surprised. Maureen Dowd in the New York Times:

A new book, “Amazing Dogs,” by Dr. Jan Bondeson, a senior lecturer at Cardiff University School of Medicine in Wales, reveals that Hitler supported a German school that tried to teach large, muscular mastiffs to “talk” to humans. This story set off a panting spate of “Heel Hitler,” “Furred Reich,” “Wooffan SS” and “Arf Wiedersehen” headlines in British tabloids and plenty of claims that Hitler was “barking mad.”

“There were some very strange experiments going on in wartime Germany, with regard to dog-human communication,” Bondeson writes, wondering: “Were the Nazis trying to develop a breed of super-intelligent canine storm troopers, capable of communicating with their human masters of the Herrenvolk?”

He discovered a 1943 Nazi magazine piece about the headmistress of the canine school, a Frau Schmitt, claiming that some of the dogs spoke a few words. “At a Nazi study course, a talking dog was once asked ‘Who is Adolf Hitler?’ and replied ‘Mein Führer!” Bondeson writes of these claims, noting that “the Nazis, who had such conspicuous disregard for human rights, felt more strongly about the animals.”

Here is the book referred to.

Via Boing Boing

Light summer reading/Sommerlektüre

In Heidegger’s case, the question of how to read him may be of less immediate interest than the question ‘Why read Heidegger?’ Of those who have heard something about him, many dismiss him as an unrepentant ex-Nazi, pompous and mystical, more sophist than philosopher, anti-modernist and irrationalist, given to asking obscure questions like ‘What is being?’ or ‘What is the nothing?’, and to offering even more obscure answers like ‘Being is not’, or ‘the nothing noths’.

Mark Wrathall, How to Read Heidegger.

Wir kennen Kants Tagesablauf bis ins letzte Detail und wollen ihn skizzieren:

4.55 Uhr: Wecken durch den Diener Lampe mit den Worten:”Es ist Zeit!”
5.00 Uhr: Aufstehen. Frühstück: keines, nur zwei Tassen schwacher Tee und eine Pfeife Tabak zur Anregung des Darmes. Erstes Arbeiten in Schlafrock, Pantoffeln und Nachtmütze, wahrscheinlich für die folgende Vorlesungstätigkeit.
7 – 9 Uhr: Vorlesungstätigkeit, inzwischen in vollständiger Garderobe.
9 – 12.45 Uhr: Hauptarbeitszeit für die Abfassung seiner Bücher, wieder im Hausmantel.
12.45 Uhr: Umkleiden, Empfang der Tischgäste im Arbeitszimmer, wieder in vollständiger Garderobe.
13 – 16 Uhr: Ausgedehntes Mittagessen im Speisezimmer mit geladenen Freunden, die einzige Mahlzeit am Tag. Lieblingsspeise: Kabeljau, stets eine Flasche Rotwein “Medoc”, manchmal auch Weißwein. Die Tafel wird eröffnet mit dem stereotypen “Nun, meine Herren!”
16 Uhr: Kant geht spazieren, immer allein. Er nimmt, von einer Änderung abgesehen, immer den gleichen Weg. Die Königsberger Bürger, so wird gerne erzählt, stellen die Uhr nach ihm.
Abends: Lesetätigkeit, “leichte” Lektüre, bevorzugt Reisebeschreibungen.
22 Uhr: Strengste Bettruhe.

Ralf Ludwig, Kant für Anfänger. Die Kritik der reinen Vernunft. Eine Lese-Einführung

But will I get further than the first pages?

In other philosophy news, Peter Adamson, Professor of Ancient and Medieval Philosophy at King’s College London, is doig the history of philosophy without any gaps in podcasts. He has reached podcast 41 and Aristotle.