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Your source for news, updates and guidance on all things trademarks and intellectual property.

How to Pick The Best IP Docketing Software or Trademark Docketing Software

Alt Legal Team | August 11, 2020
7 min read

Trademark and patent filings have many deadlines to track, and it is important for IP professionals to have a reliable docketing system to monitor deadlines. Docketing is particularly important in IP matters, where missing deadlines can result in expensive fees to recover actions. In a worst-case scenario, missing deadlines can result in abandonment of a mark and ultimately a loss of client rights. Read more about the true costs of missing IP deadlines here.

With so many different types of IP docketing software to choose from, many of which come at a significant cost and require a substantial time investment, it can be difficult to choose which is the best system for you and your organization. To help make the selection process easier, Alt Legal has created a helpful guide about how to pick the best IP docketing software. We’ll walk you through the most important factors to consider and discuss the latest technological advances in IP management software.

Automation

Traditionally, IP docketing software was an entirely manual system, requiring users to manually enter all mark information and updates and to calculate and set reminders by hand. This process is incredibly tedious, time-consuming, and prone to error. Innovations in technology have improved this process, but not all IP docketing systems have developed completely automated systems. Some IP software will claim to be “automated,” but the automation that they provide is limited in scope.

Before you know what to look for in terms of automation, you need to understand what technology is available. Alt Legal offers the latest advances in automated IP docketing software, improving efficiency, ensuring accuracy, and saving you time and money. Alt Legal connects to the USPTO and updates your docket daily with new marks, status updates, and notifications from the USPTO. You will never have to manually enter mark information or update USPTO trademarks again. Additionally, Alt Legal automatically calculates deadlines and sets reminders. You’ll receive daily emails from Alt Legal with status updates and reminders about your upcoming deadlines. There’s no need to check your docket or worry about missing deadlines – Alt Legal’s advanced automation does the work for you with 100% accuracy.

Alt Legal offers additional automated features, including a novel trademark filing intake form. Simply send the form to your client through Alt Legal, have them fill it out on the client portal, make any edits or corrections you’d like, and then click to import the completed form to the USPTO for filing. Alt Legal is constantly finding ways to further automate and simplify the trademark docketing and prosecution process. Our customers value our commitment to innovation.

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Ease of Use

The best IP docketing software should be easy to use and intuitive. It should have a modern, pleasing interface that provides easy access to all relevant information. Traditional docketing software was built with outdated technology and functions inefficiently. It can be hard to find what you are looking for, requiring you to switch between screens and click many different buttons to create a full picture. This clunky and frustrating user experience makes the software difficult to use and prone to error. Additionally, traditional docketing software is notorious for having a steep learning curve, requiring extensive training for all users.

On the other hand, Alt Legal was specifically developed as a solution to overly complicated, outdated IP docketing systems. The interface is simple and intuitive. You can view your docket as soon as you log in, then click or search for a mark using search fields or filters. You can also view detailed information about the mark including status, timeline, all relevant documents, and more. Alt Legal offers free training and unlimited support, but we don’t think you’ll need much of it. Alt Legal customers value our intuitive software and find themselves up and running in no time.

Advanced Features

The best IP docketing software should go beyond simply calendaring deadlines and should provide a full-service IP management solution. This means that the software should offer advanced features including document storage, custom reporting, internal and external communication tools, and client intake forms. These additional features aren’t simply “nice to have” or “bells and whistles.” Attorneys who rely on IP docketing software benefit from these features to stay organized and practice more efficiently.

  • Automated Document Storage – IP matters require many filings and contain numerous attachments in the form of specimens, drawings, correspondence with the USPTO, and other documentation. Having an organized system for storing these documents is essential to a smooth and efficient workflow. Alt Legal provides an excellent solution for document storage by automatically collecting documents like applications, office actions, drawings, and registration certificates, and storing these items within the docketing system. This makes it easy to check the status of a mark and quickly access relevant documents. Additionally, Alt Legal users can upload their own documents and keep detailed notes about conversations with clients, colleagues, and co-counsel.

  • Reporting Tools – Even the most basic docketing systems have built-in tools for creating reports to distribute work or to keep clients and colleagues informed. But having the ability to easily create custom reports for different purposes allows attorneys to quickly gather and share information and communicate with clients. Alt Legal’s powerful reporting allows users to create custom reports with just a few clicks, download Excel files directly, and email internally or externally.

  • Communication Tools – Only the most comprehensive and technologically advanced docketing systems offer the ability to communicate with clients and colleagues. Alt Legal has powerful communication capabilities, setting it apart from other docketing software. Alt Legal allows users to send pre-populated emails or letters to inform clients and colleagues about the statuses of their filings. Additionally, Alt Legal users can grant clients and colleagues read-only access to see their own trademark filings.

  • Client Intake Forms – The most tech-savvy docketing software auto-generates client intake forms, making trademark registrations faster and easier than ever before. Alt Legal generates custom, branded intake forms and questionnaires, allowing IP professionals to easily collect information about an application. Simply send the intake form to a client or colleague and receive notification once it has been completed. If desired, you can make any edits or corrections. Once the form is finalized, Alt Legal’s unique integration transfers the data directly to the TEAS application without the need to retype or copy-and-paste anything.

Price

The best IP docketing software should be well priced. The primary purpose of IP docketing software is to help IP professionals monitor deadlines and create an efficient workflow, ultimately maximizing firm profits. IP docketing software must be cost-effective for your organization in order for it to serve its purpose. IP docketing software is typically sold as an annual subscription based on the number of marks and users accessing the system, and many require long-term contracts. Some companies charge additional fees to include modules that allow you to track other types of IP. There may be extra fees for additional users; client access; document storage; billing, email, or calendar integration; or any number of additional features. Also, some docketing companies charge for data migration, training, and further customer support. It can be frustrating to realize that the low-cost software that you were considering is actually quite expensive when you add on all of the additional features that you need for a functional system.

Alt Legal offers a cost-effective yet fully-loaded IP docketing system with no hidden fees. The pricing is based exclusively on the number of marks in the system and allows an unlimited number of users. Data migration and training are always free and customers have free and unlimited access to customer support via live chat, phone, or email. Our customers enjoy having access to US-based, real human support to answer their questions, no matter how small or complex. Lastly, Alt Legal provides flexible month-to-month service as well as a 30-day money back guarantee.

Migration

The best IP docketing software should be well-built so that it allows for easy and clean data migration. It is essential that your data enters your new docketing system with 100% accuracy so that you can feel confident relying on your new software. Some companies charge exorbitant fees to transfer your data and oftentimes, this is an upfront cost that can go upwards of $25k. You’ll have to pay thousands of dollars before you can even begin using your new software. This just isn’t practical for many customers. Additionally, some IP docketing software companies have a very slow migration process. It can take weeks for all of your data to be transferred over to your new docketing system which is frustrating when you are ready to begin using your new software.

Alt Legal was built with modern, innovative technology that helps us complete the migration process with ease and accuracy. Migrations to Alt Legal are always free of charge and are executed by our US-based customer support specialist. Typically, data migrations to Alt Legal can be completed within just a few days, often the same day you sign on to Alt Legal. There’s no waiting to get up and running – we are just as excited as you are to get started!

Customer Support

As previously discussed, the purpose of docketing software is to maximize efficiency and profit. Docketing software satisfies neither of these purposes if you are struggling to use the system and do not have adequate support. Customer service is an essential component of what makes the best IP docketing software. You want to find an IP docketing system that offers outstanding customer support from data migration, to product training, and to working through questions and problems. Some IP docketing companies charge extra fees for data migration and product training. Others provide limited customer support or will send you a bill when you seek help with their unintuitive and complex systems.

Ensuring that you do not pay extra for data migration, training or customer support, Alt Legal includes free, unlimited, and unparalleled customer service. Alt Legal offers support on live chat (with a real human being on the other end) to answer any questions. Moreover, Alt Legal constantly updates its software and develops new features requested by customers. Our customers rave about Alt Legal’s outstanding customer service and enjoy building relationships with our knowledgeable and friendly staff.

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