Skip To Content

Start typing and press enter to search

Alt Legal Blog

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

What’s the difference between IP Docketing Software, Patent Docketing Software, and Trademark Docketing Software?

Alt Legal Team | June 08, 2022
3 min read

If you practice in the field of intellectual property, an essential tool that you need is a docketing system where you can manage your IP matters and all of the deadlines associated with them. Trademark and patent filings, registrations, and oppositions include numerous deadlines. These deadlines can be as soon as 30 days from receipt of a particular notification or can span the course of 6 to 20 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.

For IP professionals, patent, and trademark docketing is especially important because missing deadlines related to patent, 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 patent and trademark deadlines here.

With so many different IP docketing software options out on the market, how do you choose the right system for you? And how do you distinguish among IP docketing software, patent docketing software, and trademark docketing software? This article will help you understand the differences and features that make the best IP, patent, and trademark docketing software.

IP Docketing Software

As the name implies, IP docketing software is designed to manage the docketing for various types of IP matters. This may include trademarks, patents, copyrights, disputes related to the same, domains, licenses, agreements, and so forth. The main benefit of using IP docketing software is that it allows firms or companies to manage their IP matters in a single system regardless of whether it’s a trademark, patent, or other matter that needs to be docketed.

The downside to using a single IP docketing software is that users may find the systems to be cumbersome and difficult to use. As these systems are built to handle many different types of matters involving different laws, procedures, and nomenclature, users may notice that these sorts of generalized docketing systems may not be best-equipped to handle any one particular type of IP matter (i.e., one-size fits none). Users may also notice that IP docketing software doesn’t offer advanced features pertaining to either patent or trademark matters. This is because IP docketing software is meant to be a “one-size-fits-all” approach to docketing and simply isn’t designed to handle mostly-trademark or mostly-patent practices. Read more about why a “one-size-fits-all” approach to IP docketing software isn’t always the right choice.

Trademark Docketing Software

Trademark docketing software is built to handle the unique needs of trademark practitioners. It is designed to track the numerous deadlines associated with trademark filings before the USPTO and global IP offices as well as related opposition procedures before the TTAB and other global IP offices. The very best trademark docketing software incorporates highly-sophisticated tools enabling automation across the trademark prosecution process. Advances in technology permit the most high-tech trademark docketing software to connect directly to the USPTO and other global trademark offices to access information and input it directly into the docketing software, minimizing and/or eliminating manual data entry and increasing overall efficiency in the trademark docketing process.

Patent Docketing Software

Patent docketing software is a very specialized form of IP docketing software as this type of software is specifically designed to handle patent matters. Patent prosecution is a complex process before the USPTO and global IP offices and involves many deadlines and procedures. Patent docketing software is not only adept at handling patent prosecution, but it can also track the invention process, prior art, and more. Patent docketing software is designed to maximize ease-of-use for patent attorneys and paralegals. Therefore, patent docketing software includes fields labeled with patent-specific nomenclature and advanced features suited for patent professionals. Many patent docketing systems also integrate with other services relevant to patent professionals including annuities/renewals, patent and prior art searches, invention management, and more.

How to Choose the Right IP Docketing Software

Choosing the right type of docketing system begins with an analysis of your IP portfolio. Do you have many more patent matters than trademark matters, or vice versa? If so, whichever IP type makes up the majority of your portfolio should be the type of docketing software that you pursue. However, if you have a fairly even split between patent and trademark matters, you may decide to take a split-docket approach and use one system for your patent matters and another system for your trademark matters.

We’ve written several articles with specific features that you should look for in an IP docketing system. Check them out here:


Switching is easy with free data migration

Request a Demoor sign up for a free trial

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.