Many important factors contribute to patent protection, and one of these is known as 'patent docketing'. Patent docketing refers to the process of managing the patent application process. It's an important tool for law firms as it helps them keep on track of the many client applications they may have.
This article will help you understand what patent docketing is and how it can be useful in helping you to get a patent for your invention. This could be the first step in bringing your invention to a global market for business-minded people!
What Is Patent Docketing?
Patent docketing can be a system or a method employed to help manage the patent application process in the most efficient way possible. During a patent application, many different images, sketches, written evidence, declarations, and files will need to be uploaded at various increments - having a dedicated system to handle this is important for ensuring the application goes smoothly.
Sometimes patent docketing will take place using software or a digital system created to manage all the above information. This can be especially helpful for tracking dates, deadlines and audit details.
Docketing is especially important for patent law firms, as they'll have many client patents to process, and it can be difficult to keep track of everything. Some patents can take years to be approved, so they must have consistent management. Most law firms will have or will hire a docketing team composed of patent specialists.
What Does Patent Docketing Include?
As you apply for your patent, you'll need to gather a 'portfolio' of information that will help the intellectual property officers decide whether your invention is original or not. You are gathering proof that you didn't take the idea from anyone else, that it's fully original and isn't a remake of an old invention or stolen from a historical publication.
You may need to complete an IDS in the US on top of your application. An IDS is an 'information disclosure statement' and extremely detailed statement proving that your invention is original. It includes things such as 'prior art' and is your way of arguing that your invention is not a copy of anything already proposed. These statements can be long and tricky, so having a legal team to manage it will help to relieve a lot of pressure.
Docketing will include all documents you need to apply for your patent accurately. A docketing system will be able to handle them, accurately stating deadlines and ensuring that all your documents are submitted on time.
Should I Hire Legal Help To Get A Patent?
While getting a patent without legal help is possible, it is generally advised that you get a law firm or patent attorney involved if you want to speed up the process and manage your application file. Especially if you have multiple claims to file, patent applications in multiple areas can be effectively handled by the patent docketing processes.
Patent law firms will have enough experience to quickly manage your application using a patent docketing system or software. Docketing specialists can ask you for documents up-front and get them to the intellectual property office quicker than you would be able to do alone. They'll be able to spot any issues with your proof before you waste time uploading the wrong things.
Legal professionals can also help with your fees, reminding you when you need to pay, so you stay on top of payments. This is especially useful for patent maintenance in the US, as USPTO won't remind you when your payments are due. Patent docketing software can alert them to vital deadlines, so deadlines are met.
The patent application process can be very long and demanding, so having professionals on your side will ensure that nothing goes wrong and sets you back time or money.
Am I Ready To Apply For A Patent?
If you think you might be ready to file for a patent, remember to explore all options first. There are five main factors you will need to establish before you begin the application process:
- Do you have an original invention to patent?
- Can you accurately prove that your invention is original? (e.g. provide design sketches and written proof of how you invented it.)
- Have you researched the best way to apply? (Will you do it alone or use a docketing service through a legal firm?)
- Do you have enough money to cover the application, legal, and maintenance fees?
- Are you able to commit to the process? (It can take several years to get a patent, make sure you can commit to this before applying.
Suppose you answered yes to these questions. Congratulations! You're ready to take the first step towards launching your invention into the market.