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

Why is Docketing Necessary?

Alt Legal Team | January 03, 2023
4 min read

All legal professionals must keep track of important dates for filing and responding to various 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. Also, for lawyers, missing deadlines can result in disciplinary proceedings before their state bar association and/or the USPTO Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED). 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 docketing system to monitor deadlines.

Docketing Helps Practitioners Meet IP Office Deadlines

Docketing IP deadlines is an essential part of IP practice as there are many deadlines associated with each individual filing. Practitioners must have an organized system to keep track of their deadlines and make sure that they know when upcoming deadlines are approaching so that they are able to gather the necessary information and instructions before proceeding with a filing.

When practitioners enter IP deadlines into their docketing software, they generally need to log into their IP docketing software to review records and reports to determine when deadlines are approaching. This can be problematic when it comes to meeting IP office deadlines if a practitioner fails to regularly login to their IP docketing software or is relying on an outdated report where deadlines have changed.

Alt Legal has alleviated this problem by automating as much of the IP docketing process as possible. Alt Legal has made it possible so that you don’t even have to log into your Alt Legal docket to view upcoming deadlines – Alt Legal sends automatic daily updates via email and syncs with your external calendar so that you’ll be on top of all your IP office deadlines. This helps practitioners review upcoming deadlines right from their inbox and their calendars, keeping them current and ensuring that nothing is missed. Further, if you’re a Clio customer, use our Clio calendar integration to minimize the need for duplicate data entry.

Docketing Ensures Efficient Workflow, Delegation of Tasks, and Time Management

Docketing is a key way to delegate work in an office and make sure that tasks are done efficiently and cost-effectively. In an IP group, there may be multiple attorneys or trademark administrators responsible for particular clients and/or tasks. Most IP docketing software will allow you to assign a particular individual to a matter and/or client so that when you run reports, you’re able to select all matters that “belong” to an attorney and/or trademark administrator in your group. This is helpful so that attorneys and administrators aren’t wasting time sorting through long reports containing matters that they are not responsible for.

Alt Legal allows you to assign personnel in your IP group to particular matters and across all matters belonging to a particular client. That way, when you login to your Alt Legal docket, you’ll only see matters that are relevant to you. Additionally, when you receive automatic daily email updates and calendar sync updates about upcoming deadlines, you’ll be certain that those updates are relevant for you and your clients and their matters.

Additionally, Alt Legal offers a tagging system that allows for additional specification and customization when it comes to delegating tasks. You can use the tagging system for a variety of purposes and tag matters with any type of information that you may want to know about when reviewing a record, or anything you may want to search by. For example, you may assign a trademark administrator to a particular matter by tagging the matter with that individual’s name, while maintaining the general ownership of the matter with the responsible attorney. This can be a simple way to delegate tasks and streamline workflow to ensure that work is completed by the responsible party.

Another way that Alt Legal helps with delegation of tasks with its automatic assignment rules. With these rules, Alt Legal will automatically assign a particular trademark administrator to a matter whenever a particular attorney files a new trademark application. This ensures that the proper teams are seeing matters and updates that are relevant to them. This is particularly helpful when an attorney always works with a particular administrator and you want to ensure that the administrator and attorney are both receiving docketing updates.

Docketing Prevents Mistakes Leading to Malpractice or USPTO OED Disciplinary Proceedings

Another important reason why docketing is necessary is that by staying on top of deadlines, you will avoid missing any deadlines, allowing clients’ rights to lapse, and potentially finding yourself before your state’s ethics committee and/or the USPTO’s Office of Enrollment and Discipline. The USPTO OED investigates and determines claims of misconduct by attorneys and administrators and has the authority to impose sanctions and other disciplinary measures upon those who have violated the USPTO’s Rules of Professional Conduct. Missing deadlines generally and missing deadlines as a result of failing to use an electronic docketing system that will provide reminders are considered valid grounds for states and the USPTO to discipline attorneys and practitioners for ethical violations.

Aside from protecting your clients’ and brand owners’ rights to their valuable IP, docketing serves the important purpose of protecting practitioners from malpractice suits and disciplinary proceedings. By having a sound docketing system in place, practitioners can ensure that they are aware of upcoming deadlines and have enough time to gather information and instructions and prepare filings.

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

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.

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 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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