Patent docketing helps manage important dates, data and documentation from patent offices and track essential deadlines during the application prosecution. However, without proper docketing procedure, interested parties risk losing their rights and having no payoff for the massive investment of both money and time. 

Patent docketing guarantees that each efficiency every day of the deadlines is met and ensures that each of the files is stored in the appropriate file. This facilitates the organisation to retrieve the files anytime. People who skip the docketing procedure tend to skip the deadlines and are unable to protect their patents. Therefore, docketing is an essential aspect of the patent filing procedure. 

The significance of patent docketing:

Organises files correctly: The patent docketing generates an excellent flow of office work. As office work comes into the regulation office, it is far from the docketer’s process to efficiently label every record with the report number. Patent dockets also consist of coming into every record right into a database so attorneys can keep track without difficulty becoming aware of all of the files withinside the docketing report. It also organises the files correctly, making it less complicated for attorneys to observe a specific patent docketing. 

Generate alert in the organisation to meet the deadline: Docketing is one of the essential factors in patent prosecution. The docketing system alert Attorneys to any upcoming cut-off dates withinside the docketing technique. 

Further, patent docketing software is made in the manner of the approved manner. There are multiple submitting closing dates, files, forms, drawings and statements to maintain. Therefore, patent docketing guarantees that each of the closing dates is met. Also, ensure that all files are labelled and stored in the proper report to be retrieved when required. Patent docketing makes specific files that are well categorised and filed with each closing date is met.

Factors that can be a consideration during patent docketing: 

  • Prosecution details and management of the patent application are entered into all patents.
  • Mindful towards the commercial value of the patent.
  • Standardisation in maintaining a consistent workflow and updating every patent build application.
  • Docketers shall be employed to ensure zero error work, all documents are properly stored, associated fees are entered, and due dates are appropriately entered.
  • Flexibility in the docketing system so that notes can be entered into each patent application explaining the steps of the process.

What does the patent docketing process constitute?

Procedural steps of the patent docketing process:

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Create a generic/common e-mail: Generic or common e-mail help in tracking everything from everywhere, including PTO filings, client communications, Attorney communications, and all the other relevant communications and information.

Create standard operating procedure (SOP): Standard operating procedure (SOP) caters for the problem when a team member leaves. The team member will take away all the known procedures with him/her. When SOP is deployed, this helps a new team member track what is going on in the organisation. The organisation faced this situation when the organisation offered their team members an extended team of one or more team members who act as Full-Time Equivalents. The organisation members had to deep delve into the system to understand the full practices. 

Choose a manager: Complete system owner shall be made who takes care of the entire process, including monitoring the patent docketing system, tracking the common e-mail, coordinating with internal teams, attorneys, etc. It is a lot, and there is a need for someone to manage your internal stuff. 

Build the Patent docketing team: After the business growth, it is mandatory to build a team or plan a mix of the team. However, it is costly to maintain an internal team at times, considering the hiring and training costs involved. 

Train about the patent docketing: Training shall be provided on the docketing system when a step-up of a new system made from scratch customises the tasks generation according to the docketing requirement. For example, a task created one day before the deadline according to the plan to complete everything one day before the deadline to manage last-minute items. In such a situation, training about the system would be beneficial.

Keep an eye on the team: Keeping an eye on the team members is very important in the patent docketing. There might be several specific things on which the team members need training. The best method is to record the training videos on the SOP, and these become useful for future uses and will not have to pass on the same information repeatedly. Further, the team members can also view the videos repeatedly at their pace. 

Regular Audit system: During an audit, some crucial issues arise. It cannot be considered that there is no need for audits when you have incredibly sophisticated systems that update everything automatically. Many times, there would be errors from the people working in the office. There will be many mismatches even in Titles or dates of filing, and these sophisticated systems cannot resolve these issues automatically. Regular audit and cleansing drive will make the system robust and healthy all the time.

Which are the best practices to perform patent docketing-a step by step guide?

The best practice to perform patent docketing is not straightforward: Enter the document information received from the PTO and client. However, it also requires several other information, documents, including forms and drawings.

The following best practices to perform patent docketing-a step by step guide is as follows:  

Never anticipate anything: Never anticipate anything as accurate that you or your organisation have gathered about the patent correspondence and entered all the essential dates right into a docketing software, which does not always suggest the ones time limits are correct. Spend time acting everyday critique because the best factor to count on in docketing is fiction until you have the facts.

Never close crucial deadline without evidence: When coping with a wide variety of IP assets, you may take it without considering which you have met specific due dates. However, without evidence of filing, it is similar to wishing it had been confirmed. 

Give docket notes question of who, what, while and why: 

Too often, green docketers no longer make an effort to use the note’s fields of their docketing software. This segment is the precise area to offer your colleagues the context of what turned into docketed and develop a historical marker of that specific IP asset and make it less complicated to cross-reference different gadgets or conditions withinside the docket. 

Do not inactivate a report without express client instructions: At one time or another, you could determine whether or not or now no longer to reply to a closing date for an IP asset that your organisation or client can also need to be abandoned. While the preference to store effort and time can also additionally lead you to work out what seems like not unusual place sense, except your client expressly tells you that they have got moved on from that application, it is far too volatile to make a judgment name primarily based totally on whatever much less than a clean directive. Even if you acquire a word of abandonment, ensure that you have an express announcement from your patron earlier than you decide to shut the report to your docket system. 

Keep an open closing date for all procedural steps in the patent: An accountable closing date for the procedural step in the patent of the client portfolio. Even if you no longer have an exact due date generated from IP workplace correspondence, placing an arbitrary reputation closing date will ensure that belongings do now no longer fall through the cracks. 

Docket from order letter and reporting letter: People make errors. When you are docketing any facts, ensure you have accumulated those facts from an order letter and reporting letter and no longer from an e-mail or a persons’ say-so. It is just too smooth for human mistakes to seep into such communications that may cause considerable troubles down the road, ones that might have without problems been avoided. If you no longer have the order letter and reporting letter for your possession, request them from a team companion or get a replica from the office. 

Double-check and take another look after updating the record: Human mistakes are not handiest to different people. Entering the incorrect numbers, the incorrect dates, or the incorrect moves could have disastrous consequences. After completing docketing a record, it is continually a terrific concept to provide it with a brief once-over earlier than shifting directly to something else. The less time is taken to proofread instead of the time it will take to restore the troubles of the docketing errors.

Fill the information appropriately and clearly: The Docketers should keep them away from prolonged and wordy docket entries. Be as concise as feasible while writing notes in the matter. 

Help readers locate the maximum statistics fast: Write notes, call documents, docket entries, and movements. This leaves no guessing to be completed to use everybody who desires to glean a few statistics from the record. Be unique and, of course, be accurate. 

Handling Non-Recoverable Deadlines: There should be a proactive approach in docketing non-recoverable deadlines. Non-recoverable due dates should include deadlines for filing “routine” applications claiming priority to provisional applications, Convention deadlines, and PCT national stage filing deadlines. For such deadlines, it is essential to keep two dockets separately. Each docket system has deadlines, and docketing such deadlines using different processes, to reduce the error risk in both the docket systems with the same error. Ideally, there should be different people responsible for another docketing. One person has other dockets in the first system, and another person dockets in the other system. 

Disclaimer: The present article intends to provide general guidance on the subject, and you can also consult us in your specific case.

Author

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    Abhishek is an intellectual property Attorney. He specializes in the registration and maintenance of patents, designs, trademarks, and copyrights. He regularly assists companies in relation to crucial technology issues. He also helps organizations or individuals to develop patent portfolio management strategies for exciting new inventions and processes. Abhishek has past work experience with reputed firms like SaiKrishna and Associates Advocates, L.S. Davar and Co., Masilamani Law Partners, and Ripple IP Services (NCR).