Globalization, mergers, consolidations, and other factors are changing the ways that companies do business – including how they hire and retain outside law firms. In-house patent counsels now expect a high level of expertise as well as greater responsiveness from outside counsels.
IP docketing software can help IP departments achieve higher efficiencies, but full success is dependent upon the acceptance by outside counsels. Here are five tips to get outside counsels’ use your patent docketing software:
Engaging User Experience
The User Experience, or how your outside counsels experience their portal, is the key to acceptance. If outside counsels feel it is not easy to learn, not easy to use, or too cumbersome, an otherwise excellent patent docketing software could fail.
Operations should be achieved with a minimum of user activity. Too much “mousing around” means less time spent doing real work. For example, features that require a stream of menu options and parameter settings to perform a single operation are clumsy.
Avoid overloading the outside counsel with too much docketing data in a screen layout; you don’t have to fill every pixel on the screen. If the pertinent docket action cannot fit comfortably in one screen panel then divide it logically and use as many screens as required.
In short, keep the user interface clear, consistent and simple.
Full Functional System
It is important that the patent management software provides robust functions and features for docketing. The outside counsels should be able to provide you all details on your matters via a single interface and should not have to use emails to support the data uploaded in the patent management database.
At the minimum, it should provide filing history to upload data and documents, patent and publication references, patent families and other types of correspondence.
Many Law firms are still using legacy docketing systems, which lack the ability to correlate data and documents. Such firms will find this feature useful and hence give more importance to your patent docketing system.
Integrated External and Internal Processes
Treat outside counsels as an extension to your internal team. The patent management system must allow seamless collaboration between different participants such as outside counsels, in-house counsels, paralegals, docketing clerks, inventor and other stakeholders.
A patent docketing system where outside counsels can collaborate with Inventors for tasks such as drafts review, formal document generation and in-house team for estimates and invoices review is likely to get more attention.
Integrated Decision Making
The patent docketing system must provide integrated decision making in the workflow processes. In the patent lifecycle, there are several situations where such decisions are required. Examples include international filings, divisional, continuation or CIP filings, annuity payments etc. The patent docketing system should enable you to enter decisions and instructions and communicate them to the outside counsels. The seo trends 2020 seo one click will help your outside counsels refer to your decisions easily and will reduce their dependence on emails.
Most law firms have very limited visibility into corporate strategic initiatives for patent portfolio management. The matter centric approach is too limiting and does not allow them to view information that may be useful for patent filings or prosecution. The patent docketing software must provide them greater visibility into related technology matters, prior art and other documentation. The patent docketing system should also provide them tools to analyze the “portfolio” of matters they or their firm is responsible for. This will help them in better preparation of their matters and will enhance their satisfaction with your system.