4 Ways Faulty Docketing Can Cost You
Alt Legal Team | March 18, 2020
Docketing intellectual property filings can be tedious. Even on flawless applications, statuses can change, oppositions can be filed at any time, and renewal deadlines are years in the future, making them difficult to track.
Failing to respond to oppositions, to file renewals, and to submit necessary information can be incredibly costly. Not only are there additional fees that are added when forms are submitted late, but there can be additional costs to your firm or company, damages to your reputation, and tolls on your career.
1. Fees associated with missing deadlines
Most IP offices will accept late responses and renewals up to a certain amount of time after the deadline. However, late submissions often carry fees ranging up to several hundred dollars. Attorneys who miss deadlines because of their own negligence are generally expected to cover those fees themselves, quickly eroding any potential profit and perhaps even costing the attorneys out of pocket.
2. Additional costs to firms/companies
Beyond the fees associated with late filings or even reapplying, missed deadlines can cost firms and companies significantly. For example, Cyprus lost its UK trademark for Halloumi after failing to respond to an opposition in time. Several years ago, AT&T made a mistake in docketing and missed a deadline for a notice to appeal in a patent infringement case. The company was ordered to pay almost $40 million.
3. Loss of reputation
A large and renowned firm offered its mea culpa to a judge in California after it failed to file timely status reports in 15 copyright infringement cases. Fish & Neave, which has since been acquired by another large national law firm, was sued by former client MDCO after the firm missed a patent deadline by a single day, costing the company 4.5 years of market exclusivity.
4. Ethics violations
Minnesota Lawyers Mutual insurance company names “failure to meet deadlines” as one of the top causes of malpractice claims. In some rare cases, attorneys have even been suspended, excluded, or disbarred for failing to accurately record and adhere to deadlines. For example, California attorney Leonard Tachner was excluded from practicing after missing several deadlines due to a faulty docketing system.
Avoiding missed deadlines
To avoid missed deadlines, your best bet is to have docketing software that can calculate deadlines and send you reminders as those deadlines approach. Automated docketing, like Alt Legal’s, will go even farther by automatically detecting filings, adding them to your docket, calculating your deadlines, and sending you reminders as deadlines approach. That said, whether you go with Alt Legal or with another docketing system, make sure to read reminders and to take action to ensure your filings and responses are timely.