Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Strategic Docketing

While “Strategic IAM” grabs the headlines, the tried-and-true docketing function remains the cornerstone of a quality IP practice. In working with our clients we’ve begun using the term “Strategic Docketing” to refer to the new approach many companies are taking to how they manage their docketing functions. While docketing has always been a rule-intensive, detail-oriented process, today’s increased complexities with domestic and international filings, as well as changes in examining procedures, are requiring the docket team to take a more sophisticated approach to their work. In addition, the docketing team is being asked to play a more integrated role in the overall asset lifecycle, working collaboratively with both in-house attorneys and outside counsel. We hear many companies now referring to their docketing team as IP Operations.

Technology has long been a key enabler of the docketing team, providing case tracking, due dates, work assignments, documents and other information related to the core prosecution process. Although notoriously low-tech, docketing systems have provided relatively straight forward tools for data entry, auto-generated tasks, and general report writing. As Strategic Docketing has emerged, however, the demands of the docketing team are driving the need for more advanced and capable tools that go well beyond the capability of existing docketing systems. However, while new “web based” systems promise improvements, for many docketing professionals these new technologies have proven a double-edged sword—while providing more features, the new tools have often sacrificed the ease-of-use advantages of existing docketing applications.

In tackling the critical needs of docketing, Anaqua has been working closely with our clients to build the next generation docketing system that provides Strategic Docketing functionality, while preserving the ease-of-use expected by docketing professionals. To this end, our latest release has introduced a number of features that go well beyond what many companies have seen in the docketing software market – and you’ll continue to see Anaqua introduce docketing-focused enhancements in other upcoming releases.

First, and foremost, we are excited about addressing what are often the two biggest issues – too many screens (or “too many clicks”), and having to use the mouse. Anaqua now provides One Page Docketing which puts the most important docketing-related fields on a single screen, and with type-ahead on data entry fields. In addition, each user is able to personalize their page layout, allowing the docketing related fields to be positioned with drag and drop so that the most important fields are easily available. In our design testing and user training we’ve received great feedback on the newfound efficiency in completing docket related tasks.

In addition to One Page Docketing, we’ve introduced many other features designed to improve the quality, usability and capabilities of Anaqua’s docketing module. These include:

  • Country law updates
  • Law engine enhancements
  • My Searches with saved parameters and user-selectable fields
  • My Screen Layout with drag and drop selection of record fields
  • Ad Hoc Reporting
  • Batch updating of records
  • PAIR interface with data validation

We will continue to work with our clients to enhance the all-important docketing user experience.