World Intellectual Property Organization


October 2014 | No. 10/2014


Introducing WIPO Pearl, WIPO’s new Terminology Portal Focusing on the Scientific and Technical Terminology Found in Patents

In September, WIPO launched a new database that provides free access to a wealth of multilingual scientific and technical terminology found in patents, available at:

Through its web-based interface, WIPO Pearl promotes accurate and consistent use of terms across the 10 publication languages of the PCT, and makes it easier to search and share scientific and technical knowledge. The database includes terms found in international applications filed via the PCT and will eventually include collections from other areas of the Organization, such as trademarks, industrial designs, and terminology found in other treaties administered by WIPO. Legal terminology from the Patent Cooperation Treaty is already included in WIPO Pearl, in all 10 PCT languages.

The 15,000 concepts and 90,000+ terms have all been entered and validated by WIPO PCT language experts (translators and terminologists) who have considerable experience working with patent documents in multiple languages – the database has hitherto been used internally at WIPO to help improve the quality and consistency of the translations prepared under the PCT. Content is continually being added to the database, whilst future plans foresee collaboration with technical experts in external institutions to give a further level of reliability to the data.

Key features

Some of the key features of WIPO Pearl are:

– all 10 PCT publication languages are covered: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish;

– classification of concepts by 29 subject fields, each with associated subfields;

– fully validated content with reliability scores;

– “concept maps” that give an innovative graphical display of related concepts by language and subject field;

– context and reliable source provided for all terms;

– term labelling (for example, “recommended”, “standardized” or “avoid”);

– integrated with PATENTSCOPE so that all occurrences of a searched term or its equivalent can be retrieved in the PATENTSCOPE corpus;

– integrated with PATENTSCOPE CLIR (Cross-Lingual Information Retrieval) so that an unvalidated proposal from WIPO’s patent trained machine translation engine is offered or can be obtained if the database does not contain an equivalent for the term searched; and

– users can rate the quality of results.

WIPO Pearl offers a variety of search features, including the ability to select source and target languages (for best results, a source language should be selected), search by subject field as well as with abbreviations, and “fuzzy,” “exact” and “Boolean” search functions. Users can obtain a quick hit-list of results, which can be expanded to show the full detail of each terminological record. Alternatively, users can browse by subject field and generate concept maps that show linkages amongst related concepts by language and subject field, for example, showing concepts that are broader or narrower in scope than other concepts. This concept map feature is particularly useful for displaying the scope of concepts contained within a subject field and subfield, with the option to open the full multilingual terminology record for each concept found in the map.

Identifying the right term with the same scope of meaning in another language is a particular challenge faced by many stakeholders, whether patent translators, patent drafters, patent searchers and examiners, attorneys, research and development engineers, and so on. In offering validated equivalents across languages for the terminology found in patents, and linking each term retrieved to the full PATENTSCOPE corpus, it is hoped that WIPO Pearl will prove to be a useful tool for the patent community. Users of the patent system in regions or countries that do not have a highly developed infrastructure for accessing patent information in different languages may also benefit from the database. In addition, since not only terminology in multiple languages is included in WIPO Pearl but also value-added information such as examples of term usage, definitions of terms, and links showing relationships between concepts, the resource can also be useful as a learning and information tool for scientific and technical terminology in a broader sense.

WIPO Pearl users can browse concepts by subject field via the colored “bubbles”

We recommend that you use the most up-to-date browser version and disable ad-blocking plugins for the website. A User Guide, which currently includes a glossary of the terms used on the website and will be expanded upon in due course, is available at:

Feedback on the contents of WIPO Pearl is welcome and can be sent using the “Contact us” link on the website. 


  • Receive notifications of the latest issue of the PCT Newsletter and other important PCT News 

  • Back to Contents page 

Explore WIPO