How Automated IP Docketing Can Improve Your ROI
Alt Legal Team | February 20, 2023
At Alt Legal, we talk a lot about automation. One of the core tenets behind Alt Legal is to automate the repetitive, manual tasks involved in trademark prosecution that do not require substantive decision-making to free up trademark practitioners’ time to focus on more impactful and client-oriented tasks. Our mission is to modernize trademark practice and make trademark practitioners’ lives easier.
Since technology providers define the term automation differently but use it interchangeably, it’s important for you to understand exactly the level of automation each vendor is providing. At Alt Legal, we offer the highest level of automation available on the market. To provide additional clarification, we reviewed how different vendors define automation and what questions you should ask during your evaluation.
Equally important to understanding what the term automation means is understanding how that automation will affect your workflow and ultimately, your bottom line. With that in mind, we’ve calculated how Alt Legal’s fully-automated IP docketing system can help you achieve a significant ROI. Let us show you how.
Key Savings Highlights:
With Alt Legal, you can expect to save 1.7 hours and $680 in non-billable time when performing intake, 1.3 hours and $520 in billable time when generating reports for clients with large portfolios, and your paralegal will save 6 hours and $1,200 per mark when docketing updates and communicating with clients.
Trademark Prosecution By the Numbers
Each task in the trademark prosecution process takes time, and many of these tasks are highly manual, tedious, and error prone. Here are a few ways that Alt Legal has automated, streamlined, and/or simplified trademark prosecution, saving you time and allowing you to work on more valuable, billable tasks:
- Interactive USPTO trademark intake/application forms with direct USPTO filing connections
- Fully-automated USPTO docketing
- Canadian IP Office (CIPO) data and deadline retrieval & status updates
- International IP office data retrieval & use and renewal deadline calculation for 180+ jurisdictions
- Automatic TTAB deadline calculation
- Automatic docket reminders sent by email
- Automatic calendar integration
- Simplified, easy-to-run, custom reports
- Pre-populated, customized, client email templates
The following chart (preview below – click on the image to view the full chart) shows how long the individual tasks involved in these processes take in a manual, non-automated system so that you can see how much time you’ll save with a highly-automated system like Alt Legal. Note that we assumed a billing rate of $400/hr for attorneys and $200/hr for trademark administrators/paralegals.
Client Intake and New Application Filing
The chart shows that for a typical USPTO trademark matter, the initial intake and filing of a new matter can take several hours when done manually. When it comes to filing a new trademark application, client intake involves gathering information from a client about the mark including whether or not it is in use, who owns the mark, whether there is any meaning behind the mark or any living individuals named, etc. You must also develop a thorough description of goods and services and gather appropriate specimens. Typical intake is accomplished over the phone, during in-person meetings, or via email. Depending on the sophistication of your clients, intake can involve a lot of back and forth about specific terminology and the legal nuances required for an accurate USPTO filing.
Our customers tell us that client intake on trademark matters can take upwards of 2 hours. You can spend an extra .7 hours filing the actual application. However, using the automated features included with Alt Legal’s integrated TEAS intake form, you can expect to spend just 1 hour completing intake and filing an application, saving yourself 1.7 hours and $680 in non-billable time that you can allocate to other tasks. Alt Legal’s collaborative TEAS intake form is branded for your firm or company and securely makes it faster and easier to collect information about a trademark application. You can pre-populate a portion of, or all of, the intake form before sending it to a client or colleague. You can also send it blank and use it to guide your initial discussion. Alt Legal will notify you once your colleague/client starts and completes the form. Then, once you receive the form back and review and update any responses, our unique integration transfers the data directly to the TEAS application without the need to retype anything. Overall, Alt Legal’s TEAS intake form makes it easier to collect information for a new trademark application and to submit that information directly to the USPTO for filing.
“I use Alt Legal’s intake software exclusively. I send my clients secure intake forms, and information is transferred to the applications with a single click. An application that would take me 30-45 minutes now takes 10 minutes or less.” – Brad Rothschild, Founder and Principal Rothschild, LLC
Trademark Prosecution – Lifecycle of a USPTO Trademark Application
The USPTO trademark prosecution process is one of the most complicated in the world. It involves many deadlines, numerous filings, and regular reminders that you will need to docket. As a result, the USPTO makes the most data available via API (including all TSDR documents), and Alt Legal uses this data to make US trademark docketing less complicated. Using our direct connection to USPTO databases, Alt Legal automatically pulls all updates to your USPTO trademark applications (and newly-filed applications themselves) into your docket. There is no manual docketing required ever because all updates, deadlines, and reminders are automatically generated.
Additionally, there are many milestones, proceedings, and filings throughout the prosecution process that necessitate client communications, each of which takes time to docket, prepare, and send. With Alt Legal’s advanced automation, client communications can be executed effortlessly and with one click. Our custom templates auto-populate with matter-specific data, creating a draft in your email program that you can send as-is or edit in advance without disrupting your normal workflow, streamlining and standardizing your client updates.
While each docketing task may only take 10-20 minutes to complete in a manual docketing system, when you multiply the time savings across the lifecycle of a trademark application and then across your docket, you’ll find Alt Legal can save you days or even weeks of time.
“The software shaved a full workday off my workload. It freed me up to communicate with clients. Probably about two weeks after we signed up with Alt Legal, I had so much time back that I was able to sign my first client at the law firm.” – John Cook, Attorney
To further quantify this, our customers estimate that over the course of an average trademark application’s lifecycle, from intake to registration, there are at least 10 instances where you would need to enter an update in your docket. If each task takes 0.2 hours of time on average, that’s 2 hours of time Alt Legal saves you on a single mark. Similarly, they estimate at least 10 separate client communications in that same timeframe. Assuming each client update takes 0.4 hours of time to prepare, review, and send, that’s 4 additional hours of time Alt Legal will save you on that same mark. In total, that’s at least 6 hours your team can recover per mark. Consider how many marks you are managing and imagine devoting those recovered hours to billable tasks. That is how Alt Legal’s fully-automated IP docketing system can help you achieve a significant ROI.
“Alt Legal has helped to streamline our firm’s intellectual property practice. All told, managing our clients’ trademark portfolio with Alt Legal’s docketing and management software feels much faster than other products I’ve used in the past. This efficiency creates additional hours for helping clients, which is ultimately the goal in any law practice.” – Scott Sisun, Founder, Sisun Law
International Trademark Docketing
The best trademark docketing systems will pull in information from global IP offices when you prompt the system to check for new data, but Alt Legal takes things a step further. Alt Legal will automatically check Clarivate’s CompuMark database every night for any updates to your international matters and will notify you if there are any changes. This means you will never have to manually check matters for updates or click the “update” or “audit” button. Alt Legal works in the background, handling this step in the process for you.
It only takes a few moments to check for an update and click to docket the new data, but consider how many matters you are doing this for, and how frequently. Also, consider the mental energy you are expending with each update you are processing. Each update requires decision-making and having to do this for each matter can lead to decision fatigue and burnout. The adage is true, time is money. At Alt Legal, we understand that automating even the smallest task, when multiplied over time and across all of your matters, adds up to significant savings for your practice.
“You have to use technology to keep the costs down. Even though you pay for the technology, in the long run, it allows us to work with more clients and use tech to our advantage when trademarks have been commoditized.” – Renee Duff, Managing Partner, Nolte Lackenbach Siegel Intellectual Property Law Group
Generating Client Reports
Traditional docketing software has made generating client reports a difficult and cumbersome task. In fact, because building and generating a report can be so challenging, it’s often assigned to one docketing specialist on the team, meaning, reports cannot be generated quickly or on-demand.
Our customers notice a massive difference when it comes to generating reports in Alt Legal as compared with other IP docketing systems. Because Alt Legal was built using modern technology and our developers have always placed a huge emphasis on creating an exceptional user experience, generating reports on Alt Legal is a quick and painless process. Our customers tell us that running a report in Alt Legal is so simple that any user can quickly and easily run a report in just a few clicks. You can even save frequently-run reports so that whenever you want to run an updated report, you don’t have to enter any criteria – simply click to regenerate the report with the latest updates.
Our customers estimate that with the systems that they had used prior to Alt Legal, they spent 1 hour generating reports from scratch. They also estimate that they spent 1.5 hours generating reports for clients with large portfolios. We estimate that with Alt Legal, you will spend approximately 0.1 hours generating reports from scratch, 0.1 hours running a frequently-run saved report, and 0.2 hours generating reports for clients with large portfolios. This means that when you generate a report for a client with a large portfolio, you’ll be saving 1.3 hours and $520 in billable time with Alt Legal.
Again, you can see the time savings with Alt Legal is significant, particularly when you look across all of your clients or the total number of marks in your docket and consider how frequently you run reports (or how frequently you’d like to run reports but simply don’t have the capacity to do it). We know your time is precious, so whether you devote this newly-found time to more substantive, client-focused activities, business development, a hobby, or your family, the entire Alt Legal team is happy that we can give that to you!
Beyond Alt Legal’s global docketing capabilities, there are other important software features and services that we provide that will help save you time, increase profits, and overall, make your life easier.
- Ease of Use — Alt Legal is built using the most advanced technology and is meant to function with the ease and simplicity of a well-designed app. Our software loads quickly, is easy to navigate, and is visually appealing. Other trademark docketing software vendors are selling database platforms that were developed decades ago and while they may have had “facelifts” over the years, the internal infrastructure is painfully outdated.
- Unlimited Client Access — Alt Legal provides complimentary, unlimited read-only docket access to your clients, providing them visibility into their portfolios and ensuring easy communication. On-demand client access is an important marketing point when pitching new business as clients are demanding more transparency and collaboration on their matters.
- Unlimited User Access — Alt Legal provides complimentary, unlimited docket access (read-only or edit access) to firm users or other important stakeholders. Each user’s docket is personalized to their portfolio and ongoing customizations are included in your subscription, eliminating the need to share login credentials.
- Free and Unlimited Training — Alt Legal provides free and unlimited training to you and your colleagues any time, whether you’re new to Alt Legal, would like a refresher training, or need advanced training on a particular topic. Our customer support team is always available to offer one-on-one or group training sessions, or record custom training sessions for you to view at your convenience. We’re also happy to provide training to new users as your team grows and to the clients or foreign agents to whom you’ve granted access.
- Outstanding Customer Support — Alt Legal customers love our friendly customer support team! You can ask questions by phone, email, or live chat and expect a quick response, as our customer support team is keenly focused on helping you use our software efficiently and frustration-free.
- Ongoing Data Migration Services – Alt Legal provides unlimited data migration services for you on an ongoing basis. As new partners join your practice and as you onboard new clients, let Alt Legal’s expert team take care of adding those matters to your portfolio so that you can focus on other things. Provide us the data in structured format, and we’ll take care of the rest.
Having a sophisticated, high-tech trademark docketing system like Alt Legal can help you save time and achieve a significant ROI. Learn more about what features to look for in the best, most high-tech trademark docketing software:
- Trademark Docketing Software Features Checklist: Organize Your Evaluation
- Top 5 Trademark Docketing System “Must Haves”
If you have any questions about how to choose the best IP docketing software for your organization, our knowledgeable team is here to help. Reach out to us at email@example.com. Also, we would be pleased to offer you a free trial or demo of Alt Legal IP Docketing Software. To sign up, click here.