How much IP Docketing Services cost?
IP Docketing Services are required when you are super busy with your day to day business activities. I am an attorney myself, and I understand attorneys keep themselves extremely occupied. At times, the attorneys keep admin staff to help them, however, the IP docketing and paralegal work become too much quite often. Therefore, it is required to utilize outsourced IP Docketing Services.
It’s a headache to contact a number of service providers and zero down their strategy to understand how do they charge.
Typically, the price for a 2000 matters portfolio management costs in the range of 3000 – 6000 US dollars per month. The pricing pretty much depends upon the pricing model we use. If you have a small portfolio of around 200 patents and trademarks, these docketing services might cost you around 500 to 800 US dollars per month.
Pricing Models for IP Docketing Services
Service providers keep a standard pricing model for its clients. So that it is easy for them to cater to the inquiries. There are multiple methods of pricing IP docketing services. Let’s look at all of them one by one:
Matters Based Model
In matter based pricing model, the docketing service provider counts the number of matters available in the docketing software. They keep a fixed multiplier for domestic matters and a different multiplier for foreign matters. For domestic matters generally, the pricing is 2 USD to 4 USD per matter. And for foreign matters, the cost is generally, 3 USD to 6 USD depending upon the negotiation. Further, at times, the service providers charge a flat rate for both domestic and foreign matters. The flat pricing typically range in 3 to 5 US dollars per matter.
Now, when there are 2000 matters in the system and if we chose the lowest flat price here, the cost becomes USD 6000.
The cost of docketing services increases when we enter a new matter in the docketing system. Generally, docketing service providers count matters every month. Also, the billing contains only active matters in the system. There are fewer emails associated with inactive matters, and hence they are not billed.
Email Correspondences Based Model
Another popular model of docketing services is counting the email correspondences model. In correspondences based models, the service providers count the received emails on a daily basis. These email correspondences include emails from the patent offices, foreign agents, internal attorneys, external counsels, unsolicited emails and other emails.
The service providers categorize correspondence in to docketable and non docketable emails. They bill for docketable matters only.
The pricing for docketable matters typically ranges from 10 USD to 15 USD. Here again, at times the docketing services provider counts the domestic and foreign matters.
For 2000 matters, typically, we receive around 20 correspondences every day. The monthly load becomes around 400 correspondences. If we consider the average pricing of domestic and foreign matters, the monthly for docketing services become USD 5000. Of course, the pricing will depend upon the negotiation and the monthly correspondences.
Also, sometimes, there is a charge for non-docketable emails as well. There is genuine reason for it. The IP docketers invest time into analyzing these correspondences. At times the non docketable correspondences are charged at 1-3 USD per correspondence.
Personally, I don’t like this pricing model. There are few reasons for it.
- For docketing email in the back of my mind, it goes that the pricing is increasing,
- I feel like why am I paying for non-docketable matters? Also, equally important is why I am not paying for the efforts of the docketing person?
- Many times, this creates distrust because you can’t count the correspondences every month.
Full Time Equivalent (FTE) Based Model
In FTE based model, we decide a fixed monthly at the beginning. The IP Docketing Service Provider analyzes the docketing services requirements depending on the number of matters, number of daily correspondences, number of expected daily hours, and experience of docketing time investment by the client.
FTE Models, keep one or two-level docketing. In one level docketing, only the single person performs the docketing. The quality check is performed by a single person only. In two-level docketing, a QC manager works with a docketing team member. Once, the docketing and first quality check are complete by the docketing team member, the QC manager performs the second quality check. It makes docketing a Four-Eye quality check process.
Both the docketing member and the QC manager are charged differently. The charge rate of docketing team members ranges in 23 USD per hour to 35 USD per hour depending upon the location of the team. Further, the charge rate for the QC manager varies from USD 28 to USD 45 per hour.
Let’s take the example of 2000 matters again. Let’s assume you negotiate half FTE and 1 daily hour of QC manager on a monthly basis. 1/2 FTE charges at USD 23 per hour becomes 2024 USD per month. QC Manager charges at USD 28 per hour becomes 616. The total monthly billing becomes 2640 USD per month.
How to calculate FTE requirements?
First and foremost, check how much time you or your admin member is investing in docketing. If you are investing around 3-4 hours in docketing daily, go for half FTE i.e. 4 hours daily. Remember, the FTE might take little extra time than yours considering he/she needs to reverify the docketing again. The QC manager time is generally the 25% of the FTE time. In this case, the QC manager you hire will invest 1 hour on a daily basis.
Another method of calculating the FTE requirements is counting the number of daily email correspondences. If you are receiving around 40-50 daily correspondences, you’ll need one complete FTE i.e., 8 hours daily and corresponding 2 hours of the QC Manager daily.
What is common in all pricing models?
The common thing in all the pricing models is that every model charges a monthly fee. You’ll have to be ready to invest a monthly amount in maintaining the docketing work.
Which model is best?
Out of three models, I believe FTE model is best. There are several benefits of this model.
- You won’t have to count the matters every now and then as it is required in the matters counting model.
- You won’t have to worry about the number of daily email correspondences, non-docketable matters dilemma, and distrust issue.
- You’ll focus on the business process and the team will work with you as your extended team without much vendor payment discussions. The vendors usually don’t come for minor surges in the work however if the surge becomes regular they might come back and request you for the increase in the fee.
Pricing for Auditing
Pricing for auditing the system is generally charged separately irrespective of the pricing model you use. You can negotiate a quarterly auditing in whatever pricing model is available.
What Model Menteso IP follows for its IP Docketing Services?
Menteso IP recommends and uses FTE based model. We believe in working closely with clients. We successfully applied this FTE model with many of our clients. If you wish to talk to our clients before proceeding with us. Please contact us.
Written By: Azam Ghani, LL.M., Intellectual Property Laws, University of California, Berkeley