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.

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