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Trademark Docketing Software Tools for Managing Your Law Firm

Alt Legal Team | July 17, 2022
7 min read

For many trademark lawyers, one of the first technology investments they make in their firm is a trademark docketing software system. Trademark docketing software is an essential tool for trademark lawyers to effectively manage upcoming filing deadlines, their workflow and time, and delegation of tasks. Because trademark filings have so many deadlines to track, it is important for trademark professionals to have a reliable docketing system to monitor deadlines. In fact, a proper, reliable system for managing your docket of trademarks is a must for many malpractice carriers.

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.

Why You Need a Trademark Docketing System vs. a Generic Docketing System

There are so many different types of legal docketing systems, each designed to track deadlines that are specific to a particular area of law. For example, litigation-focused docketing software is designed to track court-specific deadlines and includes labels and features that are relevant to litigators. Trying to docket trademark matters in a litigation-specific docketing system would be like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. It simply doesn’t work.

Trademark lawyers understand that trademark law is an art and a highly-nuanced area of law. Similarly, the deadlines associated with trademark filings, registrations, and oppositions are highly-specific. If you are relying on a completely manual trademark docketing system, the software will require your knowledge of trademark office deadlines to manually calculate and enter these deadlines.

More recently, some hybrid options have emerged within practice management systems that incorporate legal court rules (including the USPTO deadline rules). However, the challenge with using a practice management system providing generic docketing functionality is that they often lack the nuance that is associated with practice before the USPTO. For example, one practice management system that purported to offer USPTO deadlines lacked any mention of a post-registration office action. Failure to respond to a post-registration action refusing your specimen could result in loss of a trademark registration. Aside from a false sense of security around your trademark docket, these systems often lack any connection to the USPTO’s databases, meaning that you will need to manually docket your patent deadlines, trademark deadlines, TTAB deadlines, and more.

This is why firms will invest in a technologically advanced, fully-automated system like Alt Legal. Unlike the generic docketing software described above, Alt Legal will automatically identify your USPTO trademark filings, calculate your deadlines, and update them when you complete the relevant action. These functions and other key features are why many professionals consider Alt Legal to be the best trademark docketing software – check out our reviews on Capterra and G2!

Lastly, labeling within the docketing system is also very important. In a generic docketing system, the labels are generally designed with litigation in mind. Trademark lawyers will not be able to find terminology that is relevant to their practice, preventing them from effectively keeping track of trademark matters and being able to efficiently search the docketing system for the information that they are looking for.

Trademark Docketing Software Helps You Stay On Top Of Deadlines

Once you’ve decided to implement a trademark docketing system, you’ll certainly want to realize some of the benefits of your investment. Properly using a system to manage your intellectual property can help you with your time as well. You can use IP docketing software to stay on top of deadlines and prioritize your work. For example, trademark docketing software enables you to stay on top of deadlines by running reports showing all upcoming deadlines related to particular matters over a specified time period.

Ideally, your trademark docketing system is like Alt Legal and allows you to add a number of filters to hone in on what you’re looking to address. For example, you may want to find all trademarks that are subject to a post-registration office action. Having the ability to easily create custom reports for different purposes allows attorneys to quickly gather and share information and also communicate with clients. Alt Legal’s powerful reporting allows users to create custom reports with just a few clicks, download directly to Excel, and email internally or externally. With Alt Legal, you can save frequently-run reports so that anytime you need to generate an updated report, you can quickly do so in just a few clicks.

Some trademark docketing systems go beyond reporting to help you stay on top of 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. Trademark docketing software like Alt Legal can even go a step further and sync your trademark docketing deadlines to your external calendar like Microsoft Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple Cal, and more, allowing you to stay on top of your docket wherever you are.

Using Trademark Docketing Software to Manage Your Workflow

Trademark lawyers should always invest in a trademark docketing software system to manage their workflow. Not only will trademark docketing software help lawyers stay organized and on top of deadlines, but it will ensure that they are effectively managing their time and delegation of tasks. With advanced trademark docketing software, there are a number of features that you can employ to help you ensure that work is handled in a timely, efficient manner by the proper team members.

For example, with advanced docketing software like Alt Legal, you can use the custom tag system to tag matters that belong to a particular attorney at your firm. That way, when you search or run reports, you’ll easily be able to filter by marks that belong to a particular individual. You can also see which collaborators are assigned to a particular matter and even designate a role that allows you to run a search by, for example, “Billing Partner” on a particular matter.

Another great feature that advanced trademark docketing systems like Alt Legal have is a way to leave notes attached to matters. Think of these notes as a virtual sticky note that won’t fall off like it would on a paper file! You can use the notes feature in Alt Legal to make important notes and include details about a particular matter that may not be evident from the case file. Anyone accessing a matter will be able to read the notes, ensuring that information is being transferred throughout your firm and taken into account when handling a particular matter.

Another feature within trademark docketing software like Alt Legal that can help you manage your workflow is our automated document storage. Automated document storage helps save time, eliminate the mess and disorganization of paper files, and keep all information related to matters streamlined and in one place. IP matters require many filings and contain numerous attachments in the form of specimens, drawings, and other documentation. Having an organized system for storing these documents is essential to a smooth and efficient workflow. Alt Legal automatically collects USPTO documents such as applications, office actions, drawings and registration certificates, so you have immediate access to these items within your docketing software. This makes it easy to check the status of a mark and quickly access relevant documents. Additionally, Alt Legal allows users to upload their own documents and provides a platform for keeping detailed notes about conversations with clients, colleagues, and co-counsel.

Using Trademark Docketing Software to Provide Read-Only Access to Clients

Most trademark docketing systems will allow users to provide read-only access to clients. By providing clients with real-time access to their dockets, clients can access information any time, see the status of their marks, pull their own reports, and answer their own questions. This is a very helpful way to manage client relationships and avoid unnecessary, time-consuming steps in your law firm workflow.

While providing clients with access to their own trademark dockets sounds like a great way to attract clients, you know the cost is going to be a concern. Many docketing software vendors charge extra fees for each “seat” or “license.” Prices can range from $200 to $1,000 annually for a single read-only “seat” to access the docketing platform. When this cost is applied to multiple clients, your docketing software fees skyrocket, and it can be difficult to recover the cost. However, at Alt Legal, we offer unlimited edit and read-only users, allowing you to provide docket access to anyone who would find it relevant, without having to worry about running up exorbitant fees for your firm.

When you offer clients access to their dockets as a feature of your legal services, it will help you stand out as a technology leader. Clients want to work with firms that are implementing technology to increase efficiencies and collaboration, as well as reduce administrative costs.

Using your Trademark Docketing Software to Facilitate Client Communication

The trademark prosecution, registration, and opposition processes involve many steps and instances where client communication is necessary to keep them apprised of their matters and to request information as needed. Drafting, reviewing, and sending communication at each step in these processes, multiplied by however many matters you are managing, results in an enormous number of client communications. This is extremely time-consuming for you and legal support staff and can take away from handling other more important, substantive tasks. The good news is that some trademark docketing systems are designed to help streamline and automate this type of work.

Only the most comprehensive and technologically advanced docketing systems offer the ability to communicate with clients. 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 status of their filings.

Alt Legal has developed another very useful tool to streamline client communication – an automated intake form that connects directly to the USPTO TEAS system, facilitating the trademark application process. 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. Next, users can make any edits and once finalized, Alt Legal’s unique integration transfers the data directly to the TEAS application without the need to retype or copy-and-paste anything.

High-Tech Trademark Docketing Software Can Help You Effectively Manage Your Law Firm

Having a sophisticated, high-tech trademark docketing system like Alt Legal can help you better manage your trademark docket and deadlines, and your law firm overall. Learn more about what features to look for in the best, most high-tech trademark docketing software.

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 sales@altlegal.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.

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