Intellectual property has always been a document intensive practice. Over the last 10-15 years we have seen IP Departments – along with most legal practices – move towards electronic based correspondences, filings and other work product. Redwells, certified mail and faxes are a thing of the past, replaced by DMS, email and electronic filing systems. However, we find that IP Departments have evolved to electronic based environments at different rates.
In this week’s poll we asked our IP professional benchmarking group (x=202): To what extent is your IP Department paperless? The majority of respondents, 47%, reported that they are keeping all of their official files electronically, with an additional 34% maintaining most of their offical files paperlessly. On the other end off the spectrum, 14% of IP Departments are still creating and managing their official files in a paper-based system. These respondents seem to be from biopharma or smaller law firms.
There are important implications for the relative level at which an IP Department is able to work electroncially. The advantages can include greater workflow efficiency gained from the ability to share information and automate processes. There is also significant beneift in electronic record retention and reduced cost in physical file creation and management. Not to mention that PTO authorities are beginning to require electronic filing and prosecution.