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Alt Legal Blog

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

Why is Trademark and IP Docketing Software Important?

Alt Legal Team | April 25, 2022
5 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. 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.

What are the different types of IP and trademark docketing software?

IP and trademark docketing software takes many different forms and has evolved significantly with advances in technology.

Calendars – For some attorneys with very few IP and trademark 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 trademark-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 and trademark matters benefit from an IP and trademark docketing system to monitor their dockets. Traditional legal docketing software was built to track litigation filings. IP and trademark 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 and trademark docketing software allows attorneys to manually enter IP and trademark matters into a system, set reminders at timed intervals, and generate reports with particular information sets. This type of docketing software is far more useful to IP and trademark 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 Software – Attorneys who are looking for IP and trademark docketing software that helps them save time and eliminate risks due to human error use automated IP and trademark docketing software. These 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 IP and 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 automated IP and trademark docketing software?

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

Automated Document Storage – IP and trademark 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 documents such as applications, office actions, drawings and registration certificates, and stores 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.

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 about their IP and trademark matters. 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.

Communication Tools – Only the most comprehensive and technologically advanced docketing systems offer the ability to communicate with clients and colleagues about their IP and trademark matters. Alt Legal has powerful communication capabilities, setting it apart from other IP and trademark docketing software. Alt Legal allows users to send pre-populated emails or letters to inform clients and colleagues about the status of their IP and trademark filings. Additionally, Alt Legal users can grant clients and colleagues read-only access to see their IP and trademark filings.

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.

Integrated Trademark Protection Tools – The most advanced IP docketing software integrates with trademark protection tools that help you monitor your trademarks against potential infringement. While many trademark monitoring and watch services are cost-prohibitive, Alt Legal has developed Alt Legal Trademark Protection, a cost-effective solution that is available as an optional add-on service to Alt Legal IP Docketing Software. Alt Legal Trademark Protection includes Trademark Application Match and §2(d) Trademark Watch, a set of fully-automated monitoring and watch tools that you can use seamlessly with your Alt Legal IP Docketing software to provide you with an integrated docketing and full US-docket monitoring experience.

Trademark Application Match and §2(d) Trademark Watch track USPTO filings at critical points during the trademark prosecution process, alerting you of potential infringement with plenty of time to develop an enforcement strategy and take action. These tools provide a low-cost alternative to expensive monitoring services and allow you to provide a base level of monitoring over your entire docket of US marks.

What is the best IP and trademark docketing software?

The best IP and trademark docketing software gives IP and trademark professionals a powerful tool to monitor their portfolios with accuracy and ease, store documents and other relevant information, easily create custom IP and trademark reports, communicate with clients and colleagues about their IP and trademark matters, and initiate trademark filings. The software should also be easy to use and have a modern, intuitive interface.

Customer service is another important component of what makes the best IP and trademark docketing software. It’s important to select a docketing software company that includes free and unlimited customer support. Look for customer support that is available in your time zone and in formats that you find useful, including email, phone and live chat.

Lastly, and most importantly, the best IP and trademark docketing software should be well-priced. The primary purpose of IP and trademark docketing software is to help IP and trademark professionals monitor deadlines and create an efficient workflow, ultimately maximizing firm profits. Ensure that the software that you are selecting comes with the features you need and that you’re not being nickel-and-dimed for every additional feature, resulting in a far more expensive system than you originally thought that you were considering.

If you’re in the process of selecting IP and trademark docketing software, take a look at our checklist to help you identify what features you should consider.

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