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

What is IP Law Firm Docketing Software?

Alt Legal Team | June 17, 2020
6 min read

What is docketing software?

Docketing software is a type of computer software used to schedule, calendar, and track deadlines in legal proceedings. It can be used to track cases in litigation or to ensure you meet other important legal deadlines. Before the advent of computer software, legal professionals performed their docketing using handwritten calendars or diaries. Computerized docketing helps legal professionals manage due dates on all of their matters in an organized, efficient, and accurate way.

What is IP docketing?

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 docketing system to monitor deadlines.

Why is docketing important?

Docketing allows legal professionals to keep track of important dates for filing and responding to various actions. This ensures efficient workflow, delegation of tasks, and time management.

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.

What are the different types of docketing software?

Docketing software takes many different forms and has evolved significantly with advances in technology.

  • CalendarsFor some attorneys with very few IP matters, docketing using a simple calendar may be adequate. However, all data must be entered manually, all dates must be calculated, and reminders must be set. Calendars, particularly those attached to email providers, offer no fields in which to enter IP-specific information such as mark name, owner, serial number, or international class. This makes it difficult to find specific information.

  • Manual Docketing Software – Attorneys who are juggling any more than a few IP matters will need a docketing system to monitor their dockets. Traditional legal docketing software was built to track filings in litigation in courts. IP docketing software offers more features and tools that are relevant to attorneys practicing before the USPTO or US Copyright Office. The most basic type of IP docketing software allows attorneys to manually enter IP matters into a system, set reminders at timed intervals, and generate reports with particular information sets. This type of docking software is far more useful to IP professionals than a basic calendar or docketing system built for litigators. However, manual inputting of data is time-consuming and prone to error.

  • Automated Docketing SoftwareAttorneys who are looking for docketing software that helps save time and eliminate risks due to human error need automated docketing software. Docketing software systems provide different levels of automation: some systems retrieve basic mark information from some IP offices while others calculate deadlines automatically so that users don’t have to set them manually. For example, Alt Legal’s automated trademark docketing software detects new filings and adds them to the docket. It also updates trademark statuses and calculates deadlines without manual data entry.

What additional features are available with docketing software?

Attorneys who rely on automated docketing software to monitor their trademarks benefit from advanced features to stay organized, prepare custom reports, communicate with clients and colleagues, and initiate filings.

  • Automated Document Storage – 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 provides an excellent solution to 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 allows users to upload their own documents and provides a platform for keeping detailed notes about conversations with clients, colleagues, and co-counsel.

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  • 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 directly to Excel, and email internally or externally.

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  • 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 status of their filings. Additionally, Alt Legal users can grant clients and colleagues read-only access to see their trademark filings.

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  • 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. 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.

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What is the best IP docketing software?

The best IP docketing software gives IP professionals a powerful tool to monitor their portfolios with accuracy and ease, store documents and other relevant information, easily create custom reports, communicate with clients and colleagues, and initiate trademark filings. Alt Legal’s IP docketing software offers all of these features and more.

The best IP docketing software should also be easy to use and have a modern, intuitive interface. Traditional docketing software is difficult to use and was built with outdated technology, but Alt Legal was developed specifically to ensure an enjoyable user experience.

Customer service is another important component of what makes the best IP docketing software. Alt Legal’s software was specifically built to address pain points unique to IP professionals and includes free, unlimited, and unparalleled customer service. Alt Legal handles all migration from any prior IP docketing system, and support is available 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.

Lastly, and most importantly, 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. Alt Legal offers a cost-effective yet fully-loaded IP docketing system with no hidden fees.  Alt Legal provides flexible month-to-month service as well as a 30-day money back guarantee.

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