Welcoming 300 attendees to Alt Legal Connect 2021, Alt Legal CEO and Founder Nehal Madhani delivered an insightful keynote address. Madhani began by discussing the goal behind Connect – to deliver knowledge and to provide a forum for trademark professionals to connect. After discussing some conference highlights and various ways in which attendees can get the most out of their conference experience at Connect, Madhani explored the global trademark landscape and shared how Alt Legal’s vision for the future of trademark practice is shaped by better technology and data.
IP Community Initiatives
Madhani described some of the ways in which Alt Legal is contributing to the global IP community, helping IP professionals forge connections virtually.
Alt Legal Webinars: Alt Legal’s CLE webinars highlight important IP/trademark topics and practice management topics. In 2021, Alt Legal has hosted nearly 3,000 attendees at its webinars. Webinars provide an opportunity for attendees to learn and also connect in chats during sessions and afterwards during Alt Legal Community Chat where participants ask questions among themselves and to the presenter, and they regularly share helpful resources and practice tips.
Alt Legal Paralegal Course: The Alt Legal Paralegal Course is a free course designed to help new and seasoned trademark paralegals alike level up their skills. It is taught by top paralegals and attorneys at firms and in-house teams throughout the country. The course contains eight sections, each with video lectures and guided notes, resources, and quizzes. Since launching the course at Connect 2020 last year, over 400 students have signed up for the course.
Alt Legal Paralegal Community: As an extension of the Alt Legal Paralegal Course, the Alt Legal Paralegal Community is launching in November, giving trademark paralegals and administrators a new venue to connect, share knowledge, and network. To learn more, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alt Legal Trademarket: Alt Legal’s Etsy shop for punny trademark gear continues to grow with new designs and products. All net proceeds from the Trademarket go to The Playing Field Foundation, a nonprofit focused on diversifying the legal profession.
Alt Legal Blog and Newsletter: Alt Legal is proud to continue sharing important IP and trademark related news and updates on the Alt Legal blog and in the Alt Legal weekly newsletter with nearly 2,000 subscribers. Historically, Alt Legal staff has written content for the blog, but in an effort to expand community and allow diverse voices to be heard, Alt Legal will be welcoming more guest bloggers in the coming months.
How Data-Driven Automation and Technology are Changing Trademark Practices
Madhani described how Alt Legal has a unique vantage point on how trademark professionals manage portfolios of all sizes and compositions. With this perspective, Alt Legal is able to identify new opportunities and build efficiencies for trademark professionals.
The Trademark Landscape
Over the past 18 months, new trademark application filings have surged throughout the US and internationally. Madhani stressed that trademark practice is more important and more global than it has ever been, and the need for trademark professionals to access data from global IP offices is increasing. However, these offices vary in data accessibility and standardization, making it difficult for professionals to truly automate workflows. Madhani explained that most global IP offices do not have digital offices or application program interfaces (APIs) that embrace the open-data trend. Alt Legal’s goal is to have all IP offices open up and offer data, ultimately allowing users to save time and prevent errors. Alt Legal is looking towards initiatives that bring together global IP offices and is working to provide them with the necessary guidance and resources.
What the Trademark Landscape Means for Practitioners
Madhani stated that increasing automation capabilities in IP offices is just as important as automating workflow for IP professionals. Client expectations are growing, but IP firms are at capacity in terms of what they can offer due to the time it takes to complete necessary legal work, docketing, and non-billable administrative tasks. It’s therefore necessary for law firms to implement technology that allows them to automate tasks, freeing them up to do other work and provide clients with personalized service.
Using Data-Driven Automation to Meet Practitioners’ Needs
Madhani emphasized the need to find opportunities to automate tasks in trademark practices. A trademark professionals’ job should be to focus on the most substantive of tasks, with the administrative tasks being delegated to other team members, and the repetitive tasks being delegated to technology.
In terms of what can be automated, automation relies heavily on being able to access IP office data and identifying repeatable processes. However, as Madhani had mentioned earlier, there is a need for global IP offices to standardize processes and make data available. Madhani asserted that Alt Legal is working with what data is currently available to build data-driven automations and other time-saving features into Alt Legal’s software. Madhani highlighted a few developments from the past year as well as projects that Alt Legal is continuing to work on:
- International trademark data – Alt Legal has brought in international trademark data from 180+ global IP offices through a third party, allowing users to automatically populate and update matters and calculate global use and renewal deadlines.
- Custom matters – Alt Legal allows you to track any type of matter.
- Direct CIPO connection – Alt Legal now connects directly to the Canadian IP Office Trademark Database and will automatically fill in key trademark data.
- New timeline – Alt Legal implemented a new way to manage your deadlines that offers granularity and full customization options so that you can organize data the way that you need.
- *Future Plan Highlight: Docketing rules – Allows you to set conditions specific to your docket so that our software can automatically take action on your behalf.
Madhani concluded by saying that he and everyone at Alt Legal is excited about the future of trademark prosecution and eliminating as much of the administrative and repetitive work so that attorneys and paralegals can focus on the substance. Madhani thanked the audience for the opportunity to share his perspectives on the trademark landscape and how Alt Legal can work together with the broader trademark community to improve automation and efficiency, while also regaining human connection and touchpoints.