5 Innovations In IP Domain To Empower Patent Attorneys

5 Legal Tech Innovations to Empower Patent Attorney

Digitalisation Everywhere

Today I wish to share with you guys an interesting instance that happened with me last week. One of us was sneezing non-stop & it was a weekday. You can imagine how difficult it is to squeeze out time on a weekday for a doctor’s visit. The long queues and fear of catching the coronavirus at the doctor’s clinic. 

So, instead of going physically to a clinic, we tried something new. We consulted the doctor over a video call using a mobile app. And received the medication within 3 hours of the call. It took us just a few minutes to connect and speak to a doctor. It saved us 2 hours of the day which we would have otherwise spent on visiting a clinic. Thanks to digitalisation!

PC: Vecteezy

Digitalisation | Innovations in IP

Digitalisation is happening everywhere be it education domain or medical. And Covid-19 has acted as a strong catalyst to fuel it all up. This made me curious to know how digitalisation is transforming the legal domain. And my search began. 

I started looking for innovations in the IP domain leveraging digitalisation. While searching I stumbled upon a podcast channel -“Technically Legal”. The channel talks about innovations aimed to empower IP attorneys. I found exactly what I was looking for.  

Technically Legal” is a podcast channel hosted by Chad Main that revolves around tech innovations in the legal field. Chad has worked as a litigator and is now a founder of a legal tech services company.

I found a lot of interesting innovations spoken about in different episodes on the channel. Most of the innovations are targeted to automate mundane stuff that eats up a lot of time of legal professionals. Some innovations are based on AI (Artificial Intelligence) while some leverage VR (Virtual Reality). I believe that with innovations like these, the legal professionals can truly benefit & save time to pursue “real legal work”.

I was also hoping to find something that strengthens the patent mining process  at an organization. After all, we belong to an industry that’s centric to innovations. Innovation capture is the first step to patent mining which inturn brings a competitive edge to enterprises. Based on years of experience in the IP domain we felt a lack of business process that supports the complete workflow from ideas to patents. And that led the conception of a tool that specifically caters to capturing and collaborating over innovations.

This post speaks about 5 of my favourite innovations from different episodes of the podcast. Hope with this post, you’ll be able to make the much needed next move in digitalisation.

PC: Vecteezy

LegalMation | AI-Powered Automation Of Routine Litigation Tasks

The legal professionals lose a lot of time in certain mundane routine litigation tasks but with the advancement of technology, here is a time saviour on their way. LegalMation, an AI powered tool, automates document creation, promotes consistency and conserves the use of resources. 

LegalMation automates a lot of repetitive drafting of standard documents along the spectrum of litigation tasks such as:

  • Discovery responses,
  • RFPs (Request for Proposal),
  • RFAs (Regular First Appeal), 
  • Pleadings.

AI is bound to change the face of the legal industry. However, AI is not ready to perform a task without spoon-feeding it the details. The samples or specimens ought to be put by way of a supervisory process as it never forgets what you feed it. 

For example, at LegalMation, it took the AI tool about six months to understand and prepare suitable results for employment discrimination. 

One thing is set in stone that AI can never be an attorney’s replacement, and only be a compliment to attorneys. If you feed the AI with the correct and requisite information, then as the founder of LegalMation says “it will make attorneys do the ‘real legal work’ and not the routine or grunt work”.

Several law firms are using LegalMation for handling high stake litigation and also coming at par with the bigger law firms by leveraging automation to save time and conserve resources. 

CRM & Chatbots | Automation to Improve Client Communication

“Attorneys fail to respond to more than 60% of inquiries from prospective clients.” –  Clio’s Legal Trends Report.

60% sounds staggering. But, it can be brought down!

In this episode from the ”Technically Legal” podcast it was interesting to hear from Gyi Tsakalakis, founder of Attorney Sync,  on how certain parts of client communications can be automated to reduce this number.

Email automation or auto-responses can be set if the majority of your work is taking place on emails. Autoresponders help to set the client’s expectations for a follow-up. The automation tool has been designed for nurturing a client. 

For some of the common questions like fee structure or kinds of services available, a virtual assistant may be placed by the firm. A firm can add questions and answers to the hotline or virtual assistant and it further grasps the method on how to answer the queries. 

PC: Vecteezy

Using technology to improve responsiveness and strengthening client relationships ought to be at the forefront of legal professionals as it is often said that “old clients are untapped resources and they generate the majority of the work as compared to the new clients”. 

Client Relationship Management (CRM) tools are user friendly and are very well appreciated in maintaining relationships with clients by enabling the legal professionals to be more responsive to client queries, winning new business, tracking and answering calls, etc. 

CRM also takes potential client queries by way of preparing client lists, tracking leads, and managing the schedule.

PacerPro | Automating The Distribution & Data Capture From Federal Court Filings

An attorney always runs after saving time as doing that would provide him with an extra period of time to spend on “real legal work”.  

For example, somebody on the team receives notice for filing from the court via email. Afterward, everybody will download the document to see the court order, and doing this will take 6-7 minutes of everybody’s time. From the record department, paralegals, attorneys, to junior associates on the team, everybody will download the document and follow the process to label the pdf file and further, distributing it to the team on the case. This takes up everybody’s time in question which can be potentially saved.

Pacer Pro Manifold - Streamlined case management and automated data capture

To solve the above problem, Pacerpro is an application that streamlines and automates the distribution and captures data from the federal court website. 

Pacerpro does a one-time backend setup wherein the application adds the software’s email address to the attorney Electronic Court filing (ECF) profile and then on a going-forward basis, the attorney or legal associate will automatically receive the email after 1-2 minutes of the court notice that has the labeled pdf attached. 

Further on, the staff associate or the junior associate on the case can easily distribute the court order among the legal team in real-time. By way of this application, everyone will save time and distribute the court order to everybody on the team without them downloading the court order individually. 

The Pacerpro founders conducted a study on several law firms wherein they found out that automating the distribution and processing of federal court filings saved nearly 50,000 hours of human time.

Slack | Automating Legal Workflows And (Not) Using Email

Another problem which attorneys often face is the exchange of a plethora of emails and the availability of the staff or clients to receive emails. There is a lot of hassle in back and forth email conversations and keeping all data in one email trail mail. 

To counter this problem, many firms and organizations have started using Slack as a platform for their virtual workspace or to keep the entire work product in one place. The productivity and effectiveness of the legal team have also increased. 

Slack as a platform is not limited to being a communication hub. It possesses features such as workflows and bots which the legal departments can use to automate common legal tasks. 

Slack workflows are majorly utilized for answering field questions, review documents and agreements as well as to close sales deals. 

Email Killer | Slack

Slack is known as the email killer or replacement for email. There are multiple channels for different work or teams. One can easily put the information, announcement, or any other important document for everybody to read on a multi-party channel. It gets rid of the traditional way of sending emails to everybody individually to send one particular message or announcement. 

Channels are defined as building blocks of work. Different channels will have different people in them and they can view the whole inbox trail. If a new person gets added to the channel, then they can easily view the previous conversation by way of the archive on the said channel. 

One can also connect with external stakeholders on Slack. The Platform also provides the option of creating public/private channels wherein anyone can enter or get added on a public channel but there are private channels available for one particular team or for the client for maintaining attorney-client communication by the Attorney. Nobody has access to the conversations on the Private Channel. 

You may easily turn off the notifications on weekends or as and when you please. You can also correct typos or other information as there is an option of editing a message on Slack. Whereas you need to double or triple check the content you type in the email body because you cannot retract the Email or edit the typos if you have any. 

ESI | Virtual Reality As An Aid in Patent Cases

Litigation in high stakes cases often lacks scientific accuracy.

To resolve the problem of lack of scientific accuracy in complex legal cases, one Virtual Reality (VR) technology by Engineering Systems Inc. (ESI) has emerged which tends to help jurors clearly understand what happened in a case and under what circumstances.

PC: Vecteezy

Virtual Reality is a technology that can aid in patent cases, tort cases as well as in personal injury cases. The court of law and legal practitioners appreciate the visualizations and demonstrations which help the case reach its verdict faster. 

For example, in patent law, courts are facing a surge in the amount of litigation over patents that only exist by way of prototypes. VR patents help those patents come to existence by utilising the patent specifications and claims. Afterward, they are presented before the courts as evidence which help reach the verdict faster and in a more effective way. 

VR technology is very accurate in capturing measurements or dimensions through the process of laser scanning. 

In a few cases, drones are also used to capture imagery and model the property virtually to eliminate the list of events that cannot occur and figure out events that may have occurred.

The creation of 3D models and virtual reality applications help attorneys to better argue their case after understanding the case in depth. The technology also demonstrates to the judges and juries how exactly the situations occurred.

Let’s Sum It Up

Law firms all over the world are now being disrupted by the changes provided via technological developments. All these innovations and softwares are bound to change the nature of legal practice and bring efficiency. 

Law firms and attorneys ought to opt for these changes and be at the top of their game to maintain their competitive edge. Below we have summarised the 5 innovations we spoke about in the post.

LegalMation helps the attorneys by automating a lot of repetitive drafting of standard documents. 

Gyi Tsakalakis, founder of Attorney Sync proposed utilisation of technology to improve responsiveness and strengthen client relationships. 

Pacerpro as a software streamlines and automates the distribution of federal court websites, thereby capturing the relevant data. 

Slack comes off as an effective alternative to email communication for automating the legal workflows. 

VR technology has contributed vastly to the legal industry through its scientific accuracy.

We are happy to join the battalion of innovators in the Intellectual Property (IP) domain. At Triangle IP, we have created an innovation capture and tracking tool to empower patent portfolio managers, inventors, patent prosecutors and startup founders.

We look forward to seeing you go digital wherever possible. Wishing you good times ahead! 

Is My IP Strategy Headed in the Right Direction?

Triangle IP - Is my IP strategy headed in right direction?

As a fledgling company looking to make your mark, you have to be defensive. The lawsuits are quite a costly affair and can certainly be lethal. You will find yourself being pushed into bankruptcy even before you can really get going. Patents are expensive. But the protection that a strong patent portfolio can give your company is unmatched. 

Seek first to understand, then to be patented 

Building your own patent strategy is personal to your business and its goals. It largely depends on your company’s strategic vision. But it is also important to understand your competition. Possessing competitive intelligence is key. To build an effective patent strategy, understand your market and your competition.  If you are entering a market space that is patent heavy, investors will be expecting you to have patents as well. But how many do you need? And where should you start? 

Start from the very beginning 

A good place to start is Google Patents. Let’s say you are a start-up that’s entering the marketplace with a product that is a virtual assistant. You might suspect that in the digital age, this is a heavily patented space. A simple search on Google Patents will list for you the details of many patents in the space. You will find details including who are the inventors and owners along with many similar patents. The free platform provides a comprehensive coverage of every patent. The status of filing, litigation (if any), the office it has been filed in, etc. is all available to anyone. ​Spend a little more time studying the competitor innovation along with their filing their habits in the patent world. This will help you build competitive intelligence as you pursue your own patent portfolio. 

 Without patent(s) to protect the innovation in your product, you will be a pigeon amongst cats. Without patent protection as a defense, you are exposing yourself to attack. This can be in the form of infringement suits or threats that scare away your customers. Competitors will look to shake confidence in your investors or slow you down before your IPO. Or worse still, look to remove you from the marketplace before you reap its rewards. 

Before you build your portfolio to protect your company, go back to the drawing board. Relook at your vision for your startup and draw a blueprint of your product’s journey as it navigates past the competition. Mark out where you want to be in the next six months, year, five years, and then long term. Once you have the answers to those questions is when you choose which patents you want to pursue.  

Build a Portfolio; Ward off Litigation 

Did you know you are less likely to be sued with a strong patent portfolio than without it? With a patent portfolio, you are reducing the risk of the patent suit out of fear you would countersue. You are also giving yourself a chance to go on the offensive when you need to.

Sharks (large companies with many patents) are always on the lookout for little fish (start-ups with little to no patents). By not having patent protection, you are more likely to lose a patent lawsuit. The reason is not only statistical but logical. You become an easy target to go after as there is little chance of countersuit and even if unsuccessful, a small company can be bled out with the extraordinary litigation costs.

But patents are an expensive affair. (Read this to know everything about costs of IP in the US and this to know how to make your money work for you.) Choosing the right patents to have is an important part of competitive intelligence. If your portfolio is too small there is more risk of losing a patent battle. Your portfolio should be commensurate to your position/station in the marketplace. Having a portfolio that has about half the number of patents as compared to a competitor twice the size is a good rule of thumb. Being in this position will allow you to counter-sue. When the competition knows that it is susceptible to a countersuit, it is less likely to take you to court.  

In Sum, Strategy First

A strong patent portfolio doesn’t always mean having a ton of patents attached to your name. A strong patent portfolio is something that is unique to your company’s innovation. It is something you think about as much as you think about your product. Having the right patents is as important as having the right product while procuring patents to match your growth timelines. This can be difficult with all the distraction that product development and new releases can bring.

Having a strategy and growing your portfolio along with your product success will strengthen your market dominance. Seek professional advice in building your patent strategy. That way, you stand to make the most of your investment. We’ve got Google’s most asked patent questions answered here for you already! Patents can be your biggest business weapon and most attractive assets. They attract investments when your fledgling product gains market while protecting you when you grow. So choose wisely, build well. 

On that note, from us to you – Happy Patenting!