Top 5 Trademark Docketing System “Must Haves”
Alt Legal Team | May 27, 2021
This article was originally published on March 9, 2021 and was updated on April 26, 2023.
Managing trademarks at a global scale involves a large volume of data and deadlines. Missing deadlines or relying on inaccurate data can result in expensive fees, abandonment of a mark and ultimately a loss of client rights. Having a reliable docketing system is imperative, and the best platforms simplify the complexities of global trademark management.
With so many different types of IP docketing software to choose from, it can be difficult to pick the best system for you and your organization. To help make the selection process easier, Alt Legal has assembled the top 5 “must have” features to look for when choosing an IP or trademark docketing system.
Click on the image above to download the Top 5 “Must Haves” or scroll down and review the list.
Manually entering trademark information, updates, as well as calculating and setting reminders by hand is incredibly tedious, time-consuming, and prone to error. When selecting an IP docketing system, evaluate the level of automation it provides across the trademark lifecycle. There’s a wide range of automation capabilities across systems, with some that provide no automation to others that are almost fully-automated. Sophisticated IP docketing software should have workflow automation to handle the following:
- Automatically capture trademark data from global IP offices to populate new records and update docketed matters.
- Use correspondent emails to automatically add new USPTO filings to relevant dockets.
- Calculate deadlines and set reminders.
- Send daily emails with status updates and reminders about your upcoming deadlines.
2. Ease of Use
Ease of use is one of the most important factors when it comes to user adoption and engagement. Systems that are clunky and hard to navigate have steeper learning curves that require extensive training. Oftentimes, even with training, users will be frustrated and ultimately find ways to avoid using the system. Purchasing a well-designed platform that’s intuitive to all stakeholders is key to success. Because ease of use will have a significant impact on your day-to-day experience with the software, here are some important questions to consider:
Are you able to quickly find what you’re looking for using search fields, filters, or tags?
Is the system well-organized, minimizing the need to switch between screens and click multiple times to get the information you need?
Is the system intuitive, so that you can easily navigate to find what you need without backtracking?
Does the system have a modern, pleasing interface?
Was the system built using the latest technology, allowing it to function most efficiently?
Is the system simple to understand, so that new users can quickly get up to speed and begin using the software with minimal or no training?
3. Fair Pricing
Price is an important aspect of evaluating docketing systems, as is understanding what’s included in the price. Service providers have different pricing models, which makes it difficult to do a like-for-like comparison. Here are a few questions to ask in order to avoid surprises in the form of hidden costs or “add-on” fees.
Is there a per user (ie, seat license) cost?
If there is a per user cost, do the fees differ based on whether users have edit or read-only access?
Do you have to pay for additional modules or wizards allowing you to track other types of IP matters?
Is there a fee for special features such as client access, document storage, or billing, email, or calendar integration?
Are there account set-up costs or fees associated with data migration?
Is training and customer support included?
Do you have to commit to an annual or quarterly contract, or can you subscribe on a month-by-month basis?
4. Advanced Features
Any seasoned IP professional will tell you that the best IP docketing software goes beyond simply calendaring deadlines to provide a full-service IP management solution. Advanced features help lawyers stay organized, practice more efficiently and reduce non-billable hours. Following are a few advanced features to ask about when evaluating docketing software:
Automated Document Storage – Having an organized system for storing IP prosecution documents is essential to a smooth and efficient workflow. Look for IP docketing software that automatically collects documents such as applications, IP office correspondence, office actions, drawings, and registration certificates, and stores these items within the docketing system. Also inquire about the ability to upload your 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. Look for docketing software that 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. Look for IP docketing software that allows users to send pre-populated emails or letters to inform clients and colleagues about the statuses of their filings. Additionally, make sure that your software allows you to grant clients and colleagues read-only access (at no additional fee) to see their own trademark filings.
5. Excellent Customer Support
Strong customer support can be the difference between successfully implementing and adopting software or paying for a tool that is never fully leveraged. Look for an IP docketing provider that offers outstanding customer support from data migration and product
training, to working through questions and helping to solve problems. Some IP docketing companies charge extra fees for product training. Others provide limited customer support or will send you a bill when you seek help. Find out if your IP docketing software provider offers:
Free and unlimited training.
Free and unlimited US-based support via phone, email, or live chat.
Channels to accept and implement customer feedback to improve software functionality.
A knowledgeable staff that has a deep understanding of trademark law and can reliably answer your questions.
A caring staff that takes accountability for their product and makes you feel valued.
Some Additional Advice
Service providers who are tuned into the IP community are finding new ways to make docketing software more useful and more powerful than ever before. The most forward-thinking providers have developed features that you may not have even known were possible. In addition to the above-mentioned “must have” features, here are a few recent innovations in docketing software technology that you can inquire about when evaluating different software providers:
Client Intake Forms – The most tech-savvy docketing software auto-generates client intake forms, making trademark registrations faster and easier. It can generate 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, the docketing system transfers the data directly to the TEAS application without the need to retype or copy-and-paste anything.
- Alt Legal Trademark Protection – The most innovative trademark docketing software vendors incorporate full-USPTO portfolio trademark monitoring and watch tools, allowing users to manage their dockets and protect their USPTO portfolios on a single platform. Alt Legal Trademark Protection consists of our Trademark Application Match and our §2(d) Trademark Watch tools. Together, these tools track USPTO filings at critical points during the trademark prosecution process and alert you of potential infringement with plenty of time to develop an enforcement strategy and take action. These tools provide a cost-effective alternative to expensive monitoring services and allow you to deliver a base level of monitoring over your entire docket of US marks.
Need help finding the right system for you?
Having a well-functioning and efficient IP docketing system is key to running a successful practice. When evaluating docketing systems and providers, be sure to consider all of the factors mentioned in this article. 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.