IP docketing is a highly sought tool by patent attorneys and IP law firms to manage their clients. It provides you the comfort of managing the deadlines, data, and documents from PTO. They never miss any deadlines, and provide responses to patent office timely. Once, you start the docketing of information about your clients, their IP prosecution and litigation becomes too easy.
Thus hiring IP docketing system will make you give best IP services to your clients. This way your reputation as an IP attorney rises in the IP industry. But not following proper techniques while using the docketing system keeps you at risk of committing mistakes in meeting the deadlines. Hence you will lose your clients and their IP rights. So if you want to know best practices when it comes to IP docketing, you are right place. Keep reading this article to know all the rules while accessing docketing system.
Also read: Who is a Docketing Specialist?
Rules to Follow while using Patent Docketing System
Following these instructions will aid you in giving perfect docketing services to your clients:
1. IP Docketing Can’t Work on Facts of Assumptions:
Understand one thing docketing software is a man-made program to ease out your work. Thus, it works on the principle of GIGO i.e. Garbage-In-Garbage-Out, meaning you will get the result for what you feed into the software. Hence, you might believe, you have all the correspondences of PTO and entered all the deadlines into the docketing system. But, it does not implies, that those deadlines are necessarily correct.
If you will put wrong dates, you will receive notifications on wrong time. And by that time, it may happen that original date for responding to office action might have crossed. Hence, it’s always better to keep performing regular data feeding check-ups. It ensures that you have filled right facts into the docketing software. So the only thing that you can assume is IP docketing is more like a fiction if you don’t have correct facts to feed into it.
2. Don’t close any deadlines without attaching solid proof to support it:
IP Law firms work with IP applications of large number of their clients. Hence, managing each and every clients application is cumber some even with a law firm docketing software. So, you or your staff might get little loose and think that you met the response dates of PTO. But never ever close that deadline without any proper proof that, yes you have actually met that deadline.
So if the deadline is of filing the application, attach the proof of filing. If the deadline is responding to office action, attach the proof of office action response filing. This strategy will help you preserve your highly value IP assets of your clients.
3. Make Notes of your IP in the Docketing Software:
Legal IP docketing software is not just a place to meet all the deadlines during the prosecution or litigation of your IP. The notes field section of docketing software gives you the opportunity to provide historical background of what you are docketing, i.e. information of the IP assets in docketing software.
However, it is a common practice among young or inexperienced docketing assistants. They don’t make out the time to fill the notes field in IP docketing software. So, we recommend you to utilize this notes section and provide every detail that you can about the IP asset. It will help you and your client to cross refer it in future when you need some details about the IP and its deadlines.
4. Client Instructions is Full and Final:
Many times you need to decide whether you should respond to the deadline of an IP or not. It is because you may feel that your client wants to abandon that IP application. Thus to save your time and effort you may move with decisions which feels correct to you i.e. not responding to deadline. But you should never move with presumed notions in your mind, unless you have clear instructions from the client or owner of the IP.
No, mere statements of verbal words will not do the work. If your client wants to move on from that IP, make sure you have a written statement from your client regarding the same. Once you have the statement, you can now close the record of that IP in your docketing system.
5. Make sure to have deadline for all the IP assets in docketing system:
Considered to be very important, responsible, and client benefit strategy, you should always keep a deadline for all the IP applications you have in your docketing software. You may think that, what if no official notification with a deadline is sent by PTO for that IP application.
Yes, even for such applications also you need to choose a deadline date yourself and feed it into the system. You can call such deadlines as an arbitrary deadline.
So, once you will receive the notification for arbitrary deadline, you will remember that you have them in portfolio. Else with you will have so many applications in your portfolio without any official deadline from PTO, you might simply forget them.
Hence you can set a status check action (or arbitrary deadline) of 1/2/3months or any duration of your choice from the date when docket was last updated. Once the arbitrary deadline arrives and yet you have no dates from PTO, you can again extend the arbitrary deadline. But never ever leave the docket without any deadline.
6. Use Reliable Sources To Store Data in Dockets:
IP docketing is a very sensitive task, you need to be 100% accurate with the data you are feeding into the docket. Hence don’t do mistakes in filling docket data into the system. Ensure that all the information you are feeding into the docketing system is generated from the official record and correspondences from PTO. Never fill the docketing information that your hear by mouth or some unofficial email. As such sources are prone to human errors and hence can lead to the problems in future that can be easily avoided now. One of the consequences of storing information from unreliable resources is patent rejection.
Thus, till the time you don’t have official documents from IP office or PTO don’t enter any random information into the docketing system.
7. Always recheck after updating the docket record:
As a human we all have a notion of cross checking every-information before finally submitting the document. The same should go with IP docketing also. The reason for same is to avoid human errors from your side if any. So once you have filled the docketing record, always make out the time to have quick view of all the information you filled before proceeding to next step.
Suppose you don’t cross check and you have filled a wrong date in the record. Thus, this single mistake in start will make you commit mistakes in future also like, taking wrong actions at wrong time. Hence the results you will get will also bear the consequences that are not fruitful and it can take months to resolve them.
So you need to decide, whether spending few minutes in cross checking the record is beneficial. Or spending months to correct the consequences of errors is the thing you want? Any time spending few minutes to cross check is the good deal. Thus why invite a problem which can be avoided at first place.
8. Compactness is always admired:
As an IP law firm you have large number of clients to handle, thus you have a very limited time. Hence, our advice to you will be to do work as efficiently as you can. Hence, while filing the records in docketing system, avoid using lengthy entries. Write as compact and concise as you can. This will have two benefits one is, you will have to spend less time in filing the docket. The other is you will have to spend less time in reviewing the docket any time later.
9. Write easy to read information in docket:
When you are writing the record in the docketing software, you are not the only who will be accessing it. Thus, while filing the docket record, always write in such a way that, it can be understood by anyone other than you. Your writing should not leave any guessing work for the person who is reading the information in the docket. Hence, write concise, accurate and to the point.
10. Mention the information that you can back later:
It is something that we can’t stop addressing again and again. IP docketing is not limited to having docketing software, and sending timely reminders to your clients. Here the prosecution of high value IP assets is at stake. Thus you can’t feed anything randomly into the docketing system.
You must have proof for every fact, figures, dates you are filing in the IP docketing system. Later you must also cross check the information you are filing against the official documents you are using to fill the information. This will ensure you are filing correct information in the records and hence your clients receive most accurate service of yours.
Who Provides the Most Reliable Legal Docketing System for Your IP Law Firm?
IP docketing is a job with the very high stakes. Make any negligence and the IP asset will face office rejection from PTO. Thus, to get high value docketing services, IP law firms are outsourcing the docketing system from third parties. But the third party that you are hiring must be reliable, and possess enough IP experience to give you best docketing services. Hiring “Patent Paralegal Force” will give you our expertise and knowledge in the field.
Our services are designed to support IP attorney and law firms keeping in mind their needs and demands. Once you hire us, you forget the worry of managing your present clients and work to build new clients. Our time comprises of full functional IP experts who work with state of the art tools. We don’t speak for ourselves, our work does. We have made clients in over 45+ countries all over the world. So choose us and see yourself what we bring to you. Read more about our services here.