Workflow of the Week: Automating Intellectual Property Requests
Workflow of the Week: Automating Intellectual Property Requests

Workflow of the Week: Automating Intellectual Property (IP) Management

Emily Bogin |

Streamline and accelerate the steps for protecting and managing intellectual property rights such as patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets.

Protecting intellectual property like technological advancements, creative works, or patents demands attention to detail and multiple levels of review. IP requests are time-consuming, and delays can hit the bottom line, with each (manual) touchpoint bringing opportunity for lost time and possible error.

But to understand exactly where workflow can step in to save legal teams time, let’s first take a quick look at the IP request and approval process.

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What Does the (Manual) Intellectual Property Management Process Look Like?

The intellectual property (IP) process, when done manually, involves several steps and escalations:

Workflow of the Week: Automating Intellectual Property (IP) ManagementRequest Intake: Gather an IP request from an inventor, creator, or relevant stakeholder via form, email, or internal ticketing system.                                                                                                                            

Workflow of the Week: Automating Intellectual Property (IP) ManagementDocumentation and Record Keeping: Collect relevant details such as dates, descriptions, and sketches to serve as evidence of ownership and defend future IP protection efforts.

IP Search and Analysis WorkflowsIP Search and Analysis: Determine the novelty, feasibility, and potential value of inventions or creative works. This may involve searching existing patents, trademarks, copyrights, and other relevant databases to assess the likelihood of obtaining IP protection.

IP Strategy & Responsibilities: Assign specific individuals or teams ( legal counsel, patent agents, trademark attorneys etc.) responsibilities for handling different aspects of the request.

 Automating Intellectual Property (IP) ManagementPreparation and Filing: Prepare the necessary documentation and paperwork in accordance with legal and regulatory requirements (like patent applications, trademark filings, copyright registrations, or licensing agreements).

when to use workflow automation -- in intellectual property and more

Filing and Submission: File with the appropriate governmental or regulatory authorities, such as the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), or relevant national trademark offices.

Follow-Up and Monitoring: Monitor your application progress, respond to any office actions or inquiries from regulatory authorities, and ensure compliance with procedural deadlines and requirements. Communicate the outcome to the relevant stakeholders and update internal records and databases.

As you can see, throughout the manual IP process, stakeholders must adhere to legal requirements, deadlines, and procedural guidelines. It’s a lot to keep track of – but it’s worth noting that many aspects of the IP process can now be facilitated and automated through digital tools, software platforms, and premier services (like TAP!).

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Enter Workflow: Automating Intellectual Property (IP) Management

Knowing that clear communication, collaboration, and coordination among stakeholders are essential to ensuring that IP requests are handled effectively and in accordance with legal obligations, it’s a process ripe for workflow automation.

Automation can streamline each of the manual steps listed above, reducing the time and effort required to handle end-to-end IP requests. Not to mention, your team enjoys:

  • Enhanced Accuracy: Reduce the risk of human error by ensuring consistency and accuracy in data entry, document preparation, and compliance with procedural requirements.
  • Increased Efficiency: Triage and automatically escalate requests if and when they hit bottlenecks for faster turnaround time and better collaboration.
  • Improved Compliance: Adhere to regulatory requirements more effectively by incorporating compliance checks, audit trails, and approval mechanisms into your automated workflows, ensuring that IP requests are handled in accordance with legal and regulatory obligations.
  • Better Decision Making: Get real-time insights into the status and progress of IP requests, enabling informed decision-making and strategic planning to identify trends, track key performance indicators, and optimize your IP management processes.
  • Scalability: Scale your IP management capabilities to accommodate growing volumes of requests and expanding portfolios of intellectual property assets. Automated systems can handle increased workloads and complexities without requiring significant manual intervention or resource allocation.
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Looking for More Ways to Workflow?

Automating the Intellectual Property process is a great early addition to your inventory of workflows. They often come up on a scheduled basis, like the annual ethics and compliance disclosure, and require detailed audit trails and full accountability.

You could also begin with your highest volume requests: think NDAs and legal front doors.

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