Seven (7) Steps to Setup an Excellent Patent Docketing Process
As you are here, I could think of three reasons:
1. You have a messy patent and trademark docketing system, and you wish to improve its quality (by audit or data cleansing);
2. You are trying to build patent or trademark docketing process from scratch and you are looking for IP Docketing Best Practices; or
3. You are trying to switch the IP docketing system.
If there is any other reason, please write in the comment section towards the end of the page.
Nonetheless, I am glad; you are here. I am sure that the following seven steps of setting up a robust IP docketing process will help you in all of the situations mentioned above as well as the reasons shared in the comment section if there is any.
If you face any issue or need help in setting up the process, I’ll be glad to provide FREE of cost initial IP Docketing Consultancy.
The following seven (7) steps would be a great help, I guarantee you. If you need my help, I’ll be more than happy to help you in setting up the whole system. I understand it’s a pain to build the system from scratch. Nevertheless, if you follow the below seven (7) steps, it should be an easy one.
1. Create a Common Mailbox.
I can’t stress more. Many of our clients, with small docketing, needs avoided creating a common mailbox and used multiple mailboxes. When the practice grew, they got lost. When we handled their patent docketing system, we created this common mailbox on Day 1 of our assignment. And yes, don’t forget to use this common mailbox everywhere including PTO filings, Agent Communications, Client Communications, and all the other relevant communications.
2. Create a Standard Practice Manual
Heard it the first time about Manual? Well, we rely on our “Best IP Docketing Team,” that’s the general response of law firm managers. The problem arises when a team member leaves for one or the other reason. She/He will take away all the know how. Now, when you have a manual and deploy a new team member, it becomes straightforward to track what’s going on in the system. We faced this situation when we offered our team members as extended team wherein one or two of our team members acted as Full-Time Equivalents for our client’s team. Our team members had to deep delve into the system to understand the full practices. Then finally, our team created the Standard Practice Manual which was used throughout the client’s firm later.
3. Choose and Customize a Docketing Software.
Here, the significant point is to use a customizable docketing software.
- Read 4 Best IP Docketing Softwares: If you are starting now, and wish to select the software you can read this important article that helps you in deciding on Patent Docketing Software for your needs.
- Choose Reports Types and Frequency: Make sure the software you choose should be able to create periodic reports as per your needs. It is imperative. Your client would ask for the reports time and again. At times, the clients will ask for the login of the system for status of their matters.
- Train the IP Docketing System: Training the docketing system means whenever you set up a system from scratch customize the tasks generation as per your docketing needs. For example, you want a task created two days before the deadline as you plan complete everything two days before the deadline to manage last minute issues. In this situation, training the system would be extremely helpful.
4. Choose a Supervisor
Someone has to be a complete owner of the system who takes care of the entire process including monitoring of the patent docketing system, tracking of the common mailbox, coordinating with remote patent and trademark docketing teams, internal teams, attorneys, etc. It’s a lot, and you really need someone to manage your internal stuff. Initially, the attorneys do it themselves however as the system grows they must delegate it so that they focus on their core activities.
5. Build the IP Docketing Team
You need this, when the business grows, you can build both internal teams as well as the remote docketing team, or you can plan a mix of the team. All three options of the team structures have its advantages and disadvantages. The internal team remains with you all the time, however, at times it is costly to maintain an internal team considering the hiring and training costs involved. On the other hands, the remote team might be cost-effective as well as deliver peace of mind as you don’t have to hire and train the team members. Further, the extension of team members upon surge in work. Usually, remote docketing teams keep a buffer team which can quickly manage the surge, or increase the team members as and when required.
6. Monitor and Train the team
Whether you keep an internal or remote team, it is vital to monitor and train your team members. There might be n number of things specific to your standard practices on which your team members need training. The best you can do is record the training videos these become useful for future uses and you won’t have to pass on the same information again and again. Further, the team can also view the videos repeatedly on its pace. Furthermore, you can upload the videos on Youtube with restriction to availability to your firm’s email IDs. This is only possible when your team is using G Suite for your emails.
7. Setup Quarterly Audits
It is critical, at times we find important issues while auditing. One simple reason for this process step is “To err is to human,” and you have human beings working with you. It doesn’t mean that you won’t need audits when you have incredibly sophisticated systems which are updating everything automatically. Many a time there would be errors from PTO. We saw a lot of mismatches even in Titles or dates of filing. The sophisticated systems can’t resolve these issues automatically. Your audit and cleansing drive will make your system robust and healthy all the time.
I wish you good luck in setting up your patent and trademark docketing process. Please feel free to write to us for your specific queries.
About Author: Azam Ghani is the Founder and CEO at Menteso (IP), Inc. He is the LL.M. from University of California at Berkeley with specialization in Intellectual Property. IAM Magazine included him in top 300 IP Strategist in the years 2017 and 2018. He is an IP Attorney, Consultant, and Innovation Enthusiast. For specific queries and inputs, please write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.