Tips for Effectively Managing Deadlines in a Trademark Docketing Software System
Alt Legal Team | August 17, 2022
Nearly every legal professional must keep track of important dates for filing and responding to different types of actions. Docketing these dates ensures efficient workflow, delegation of tasks, and time management.
For IP professionals, IP and trademark docketing is especially important because missing deadlines related to IP and trademark matters can result in expensive fees to recover actions. In a worst-case scenario, missing deadlines can result in abandonment of a trademark and ultimately, a loss of client rights. Read more about the true costs of missing IP and trademark deadlines here.
IP docketing is the process of tracking deadlines related to the prosecution of trademarks, copyrights, and patents before their respective governing offices. Trademark and patent filings, registrations, and oppositions include numerous deadlines. These deadlines can be as soon as 90 days from receipt of a particular notification or can span the course of 6 or 10 years. Because trademark and patent filings have so many deadlines to track, it is important for IP professionals to have a reliable trademark docketing system or general IP docketing system to monitor deadlines. This article contains tips for effectively using your trademark docketing software to track deadlines and stay organized.
Stay Up-to-Date on Upcoming Deadlines – Run Regular Reports
If you are managing your trademark matters in a trademark docketing software system, there are many things you can do to ensure that you stay organized and are effectively managing your deadlines. The key to staying organized is to be aware of the constantly changing deadlines and statuses related to your trademark filings. The best way to do this is to regularly run a report showing all of the upcoming deadlines related to your marks. Plan to run reports weekly or bi-weekly so that you can ensure that all information is accurate. If you have lawyers tending to different matters at your organization, they should be running individual reports for themselves and a managing attorney should be keeping track of all upcoming deadlines. If you are frequently running the same reports, some advanced trademark docketing systems like Alt Legal will allow you to save frequently-run reports so that you don’t have to select criteria each time you want to run a particular report. In just a few clicks, you’ll have a report prepared that you can use internally to manage deadlines or to send to a client so that they can prepare on their end.
In addition to running reports, another way to stay on top of deadlines is to use your IP docketing software to send you emails of upcoming deadlines. Some fully-automated docketing systems like Alt Legal will send you daily email notifications anytime there is an update or new deadline assigned to a mark in your docket. Receiving notifications right in your email box saves time and helps you stay on top of the upcoming deadlines in your matter. You don’t even have to log into your docketing software or run a report to see what deadlines are approaching. Email notifications are a great way to get a quick overview of what’s happening with the matters on your docket and to help you ensure that nothing slips through the cracks.
Set Custom Reminders at Regular Intervals
It can be very helpful to utilize fully-automated docketing software like Alt Legal by setting custom reminders for yourself about upcoming deadlines. You should choose intervals that help remind you well-ahead of deadlines to perform a particular task and/or get information or specimens from a client. This is also very important for client relations. Make sure you are setting reminders at intervals that will help you best serve your clients. If you notify clients too early about a particular deadline, they may put the task off and neglect to respond. But notifying clients too late may result in a mad rush for information or forcing you to file for an extension of time to respond which can be costly and frustrate your client. Know your clients and use your trademark docketing system to set up reminders at intervals that make sense for each client. Keep in mind that some clients may need to request information from others within their organization which may take extra time. Make sure that reminders provide you and the client with ample time to complete a task.
Calculate Deadlines Accurately
Some advanced IP docketing systems like Alt Legal will calculate upcoming deadlines automatically based on USPTO rules, while other, more manual systems will have you manually input deadlines. If you are entering deadlines manually, it’s important to double check this information. Attorneys should set aside time regularly (at least once a month) to review the status of each filing in their docket and double-check correspondence from IP offices to ensure that deadlines have been properly calculated using the applicable statutory and procedural provisions. Attorneys will also want to stay ahead of any regulatory changes to ensure that they are correctly calculating any deadlines.
Communicate with Clients about Updates and Due Dates
One of the most important aspects in meeting trademark prosecution deadlines is obtaining the appropriate client input. Client input is often necessary for you to appropriately respond to a particular deadline, whether it is providing information about how the mark is being used, supplying a specimen, or agreeing to pay a fee to extend the time to file a Statement of Use, or any other matter requiring client approval or participation. If you do not get the information or approval necessary to meet a deadline, you risk putting your client’s IP rights in jeopardy. Therefore, it is important to utilize your IP docketing software to apprise your clients of updates to their matters and upcoming due dates.
Advanced and automated IP docketing software like Alt Legal allows you to create template letters for each stage of the trademark prosecution process so that you can promptly advise clients of updates and upcoming deadlines with just a few clicks. Alt Legal’s templates will pull in information directly from the docketing software, saving you time and helping you avoid errors as you report this information to clients. Promptly providing information to clients about updates to their matters and upcoming deadlines, as well as information or approvals that may be required from them, allows you to nurture the client relationship and give the client ample time to provide their instructions for proceeding.
High-Tech Trademark Docketing Software Can Help You Effectively Manage Deadlines
Having a sophisticated, high-tech trademark docketing system like Alt Legal can help you better manage your trademark docket and deadlines. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, we would be pleased to offer you a free trial or demo of Alt Legal IP Docketing Software. To sign up, click here.