postheadericon The IP Prosecution Paralegal’s Role(s) . . .

IPconnect: from the Expert's QuillThe practice of Intellectual property law prosecution serves two purposes: [1] investigating and processing patent, trademark or copyright claims so as to establish or expand a client’s ownership rights to those claim(s), and [2] protecting clients from theft or infringement of the patent, trademark or copyright claims they already own. Structured to accommodate the world’s creative minds and technical geniuses, IP is the most comprehensive and complicated form of law practice in existence. Its success is based on deadlines and precision, the levels of which can directly affect businesses and the livelihoods they sustain… even entire economies.

Without intellectual property: rights of ownership to inventions, literature, music and brands would not exist. As a result: publicly traded entities both large and small that rely on ownership of intellectual property rights for their commercial survival would also not exist. If publicly traded entities did not exist, then stock markets would not exist. Without stock markets there would be no Wall Street… or retirement plans… In essence, without IP we’re all selling our wares in flea markets and living in a financial Stone Age.

The slang phrase “close enough for government work” does not apply to practicing IP law. It must be perfect. As examples: should a filing deadline be missed, or even met but laden with unrecoverable mistakes – the client loses their rights. When a client loses their rights they lose the revenues those rights would have generated. Something as mundane as misplacing a punctuation mark can send a $multi-million idea down the drain, forcing present or planned jobs to go away that literally banked on an application’s successful approval.

Precision “Cost Effectiveness”
Also at stake is the representing firm’s reputation and the livelihoods it provides. The representing firm that loses their client ‘s rights because of missing a filing deadline or submitting incomplete or mistake-laden work opens themselves up to malpractice. News of a screw up travels fast. So aside from becoming a roadblock to new client acquisitions, being the target of a malpractice suit can also create doubt in the existing client base. Damage control is considerably more expensive than quality control.

Thus in the Intellectual Property world, cutting corners is dangerous. When deadlines are properly managed and the process is properly executed, liabilities are minimized. Here’s the bottom line… cost effective is defined as tangible benefits produced by money spent. Money spent on fixing mistakes caused by cutting corners is cost prohibitive, not cost effective. So getting it right the first time every time is how cost effective happens in our industry.

The IP Prosecution Paralegal’s Role(s)
Perfection in intellectual property prosecution is indeed enormously important. Ownership of intellectual property rights is the very foundation of our global economy. That’s pretty big. And it’s made possible by the paralegals who manage its workflow. (No pressure…)

Prosecution operates as both the research and production arms of the intellectual property rights acquisition and protection processes. Successful IP prosecution is all about communication skills, excruciating attention to detail, accountability, accuracy, tactful expediting, disciplined priority date control and extreme levels of confidentiality.

The often-scientific nature of IP content can also be daunting. The expert paralegals that manage large client portfolios can not be “technically challenged.” Power user-level computing and intelligence-based investigative skills merged with the ability to simultaneously juggle and direct multiple tasks within multiple projects – all the while accurately accounting for every minute of time – is an absolute necessity.

IP prosecution entails a working knowledge of numerous U.S. and world databases of applicable laws, rules, protocols and case histories (life cycles for you marketing-savvy wordsmiths) as well as the myriad forms & filing procedures they produce. Libraries upon libraries of reference materials are investigated, deciphered and recorded – spawning intensely detailed research findings and summaries. Hyper-accurate data processing, interpretive analysis, bulletproof authoring and exacting deadline management are then brought to bear, ensuring that all documents and correspondence are in precise conformance with patent, trademark and copyright filing requirements in as many as 150+ countries.

Ultimately, complete and timely prosecution provides the litigation team with an ironclad program so the client’s rights are eminently defensible. Such are the expectations of IP prosecution and its paralegal professionals.


Ms. Ange may be reached for comment via email or from her company website.

© 2009 IPParalegals. All rights reserved

3 Responses to “The IP Prosecution Paralegal’s Role(s) . . .”

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.