Black Hills IP: Bringing Gold-Standard Quality into IP Practices

Thomas Marlow, Patent Attorney and CTO
Intellectual property (IP) docketing has always been a complex process, but today, many law firms have been able to bring simplicity and efficiency to the process using digital tools. For instance, instead of using stacks of planner diaries, the firms use digital calendars and alerting software to keep track of important dates and streamline their manual processes. Despite this evolution, law firms still struggle with several process inefficiencies arising from the gaps between the different digital tools that are not built to integrate with one another.

Black Hills IP, a provider of automation solutions, is closing these gaps with its robust Automated IP Docketing platform. Rather than personnel having to continually monitor their inboxes or sift through many patent office documents and foreign communications, Black Hills IP’s platform does it for them.

“Our Automated IP Docketing solution not only centralizes and streamlines the complex patent process but also eliminates all the errors that are common in the conventional manual workflows,” says Thomas Marlow, patent attorney and CTO of Black Hills IP. The platform analyzes and verifies the information in the patent communications against the client’s portfolio, before entering the details into relevant systems and updating the dates into the tracking software.

Black Hills IP also provides automation solutions for paralegal processes. Whether it is preparation of draft shell responses or IDS citation tracking, the company’s Automated Paralegal solutions streamline crucial tasks.

The capabilities of both Automated IP Docketing and Automated Paralegal solutions are further augmented by Black Hills IP’s automated alerting module, which continuously monitors the status of applications at the patent application information retrieval (PAIR) portal of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Whenever there is a change in status of the patent application at the USPTO, this software immediately alerts the law firm personnel or paralegals to take the necessary actions and ensure their clients get their patent or trademark rights without delay.

Empowering Human Talent, Driving Productivity

“It is not just about replacing human personnel, but promoting valuable human talent for more value-added tasks,” notes Marlow.
In this regard, Black Hills IP complements its automation offerings with the knowledge and expertise of an experienced team of patent law and procedure experts to incorporate the strict and complex patent rules (of the U.S., as well as other countries) into its technology to make it fail-proof. These patent law experts also act as the ‘second line of defense’ to solve unique exceptions. For instance, if the automation solution does not have the ability to handle a particular patent case, the experts take over and evaluate the parameters of the case and add the required functionalities, thus enabling continuous improvement of the technology.

Eliminating Errors with Attention to Detail

In a process such as IP docketing, where even the slightest mistake—like entering an incorrect digit in a date—can lead to devastating consequences to the patent application, the automation solution should go beyond just identifying the type of documents.
Black Hills IP understands such nuances and attends to them diligently. All their software’s docketing decisions are made based on more than 150,000 rules (informed by multiple, reliable sources), with an additional 100,000 rules independently maintained to double-check and verify that there are no errors. Going a step further, the automation solution also analyzes IP documents in more than 80 different languages, eliminating the need for translations—a major cause of inconsistencies and errors in IP docketing.

Ushering Clients toward Next-Gen Patent Workflows

Countless law firms and patent offices have been able to significantly enhance their critical workflows, owing to Black Hills IP’s automated docketing capabilities. A case in point is a client that wanted to address the errors and inconsistencies in their manual docketing process. Black Hills IP started by conducting a comprehensive audit of the client’s internal processes and pinpointed the inaccuracies in their workflow. The assessment revealed that more than five percent of the data was prone to errors, which was unacceptable for the patenting process. Black Hills IP completely revamped their manual docketing system with an automated process that streamlined the client’s needs and eliminate inconsistencies. In no time, the client was able to revamp their docketing workflow and achieve impeccable data integrity in the patent application processes.

The credit for facilitating such successes also goes to Black Hills IP’s management team, as well as the workforce. Comprised of successful patent attorneys with extensive industry knowledge, the management guides its highly skilled workforce to help clients get the most out of their docketing automation solutions. When clients run into even the slightest inconvenience, Black Hills IP’s experts are just a call away to assess the problem and provide troubleshoot as quickly as possible. Beyond this, clients’ feedback and suggestions are methodically tracked to upgrade Black Hills IP’s solution stack. The next upgrade of their docketing automation solution will include their growing data analytics and data services capabilities, which help clients improve their internal workflows and quality assurance functions.


Automated IP Docketing solution not only centralizes and streamlines the complex patent filing process but also eliminates all the errors that are common in the conventional manual workflows

Today, Black Hills IP’s move toward automation is allowing countless law firms to easily conduct their docketing processes in-house with minimum labor costs at a time when businesses across the U.S. are opting for regional services over outsourcing. The company is also expanding its partnership network, which will allow it to integrate their automated solutions with a broader range of IP docketing tools, and foster smoother data management for a zero-error workflow.

Company
Black Hills IP

Headquarters
Minneapolis, MN

Management
Thomas Marlow, Patent Attorney and CTO

Description
Black Hills IP was founded over ten years ago with a single-minded mission: create gold-standard services for the IP practice. Its legal support services include intellectual property docketing, paralegal, proofreading, analytics, and annuity management services. The company utilizes advanced automation software to make docketing work more accurate, efficient, and cost-effective. Black Hills IP employs only U.S.-based individuals, ensuring that a client can reach them any time during regular business hours

Black Hills IP