Patent attorneys and paralegals handle a sizable list of routine tasks for their clients every day. Some are minor but repetitive; some are complicated as well as time consuming. While it may not be possible to completely automate those complex tasks like drafting claims, prior-art search, proofreading or certain USPTO activities; it is feasible that certain simple tasks like patent term estimation, generating IDS forms or claim charts or even a mere litigation check can be done rapidly and efficiently by leveraging the power of online tools. These tools are the helping hands for Patent attorneys, paralegals and even for individual inventors, not only when they are looking to save time, effort and money, but also when they want to make some informed decisions.
Let’s see the 5 tasks that take the productive hours of patent attorneys or their team when it’s done manually but become easier when using some online tools.
1. Determining the term of a patent is primarily carried out to see until when a patent is in force. Usually the term of a patent is calculated by considering several factors like filing date; grant date, PTA, PTE, terminal disclaimers, maintenance fee payment details, etc. There are times when we look for a basic yet an instant way to estimate the term of a patent.
Instant Solution-1: Patent Term Calculator
For those who want to get simple estimates, Patent Term Calculator is an instant tool that estimates the term of a given U.S patent number. It fetches the patent data from EPO/INPADOC to do this estimation.
It collects all the priority numbers/dates and identifies the right priority date (by eliminating the foreign and provisional priority) and adds the number of years based on the filing date and also extracts PTA days from the face of the patent when available and adds it to the term. It will also check for presence of TD on the front page and indicate in the interface.
2. Patent Family Tree is the graphical representation of a patent family based on genealogy and timeline. It is usually used to visualize the relationship of the patents and the jurisdictions covered.
Instant Solution-2: PTFG
Patent Family Tree Generator (PFTG) generates a visually interpretable family tree using any given patent, application, or publication number. The patent family tree is generated based on genealogy and timeline. This product extracts the priority information from INPADOC and groups it to generate an extended family tree where all the applications that share at least one common priority are included in the map, which includes provisional and abandoned applications.
3. IDS Submission (PTO/SB/08A and 08B) is a critical part during the US patent prosecution process. An inventor or his representative is obligated to submit all the known prior-art material to the patentability of the invention. Attorneys and paralegals often spend hours generating IDS forms every time when they want to submit citations for their clients. Usually the time is spent on checking the accuracy of the data (i.e., the inventor/assignee names, publication dates, etc.)
Instant Solution-3: IDS Generator
Make this long process shorter. Through this tool, anyone can easily generate IDS forms in the USPTO-approved EFS-ready format. You simply enter patent or publication number(s) or copy and paste from a document (Word or Excel); the tool takes care of the rest. This tool extracts the relevant inventor/assignee and the dates from official public database and auto populates the form.
4. Claim Charts are usually prepared while evaluating the patent claims or during an infringement analysis.
Instant Solution-4: Claim Chart Generator
This handy tool generates claim charts broken down by claim element in a downloadable format in a click for any given U.S. patent/publication number, PCT Number, or EP patent/publication number. You can also choose the output formats as Word, Excel or HTML.
5. Checking whether a patent has been litigated is mostly executed by attorneys and paralegals for research, licensing, acquisition, or litigation purposes.
Instant Solution-5: Has This Patent Been Litigated?
This tool is a lighter version of the MaxVal’s Litigation Databank that gives a quick answer about the litigation history of a patent. You just input the patent number and it tells you if it’s been litigated or not along with the number of cases. One can use this tool to perform litigation checks for cases across US District courts, CAFC, ITC and the Supreme Court.