As IP workload increases, it is getting difficult for IP attorneys, law firms, and even individual IP professionals to manage end-to-end IP activities for their clients. Due to the significance of these activities for IP firms and professionals, the need for virtual paralegals is at an all-time high. This article discusses “what is a virtual paralegal?” We will try to answer a common question that is “why should I hire a virtual paralegal?”
What is a Virtual Paralegal?
Virtual paralegals are IP professionals whose work is to remotely provide support in intellectual property activities to various entities. These days law firms, IP attorneys, and even solo IP practitioners hire virtual paralegals to ease the workload. A virtual paralegal assists by managing various tasks encompassing intellectual property, legal, as well as administrative domains.
What Does a Virtual Paralegal do?
As we have discusses who virtual paralegals are and what work they do, let us look at the roles played by a virtual paralegal. Following are the benefits of hiring a virtual paralegal:
- Handles IP assets (patent, copyright, trademark) and administrative tasks – Virtual paralegals take care of the IP assets of a law firm, attorney, and solo practitioners engaged in IP domains.
- Virtual paralegals save time by decreasing the workload a lot on law firms. Firms and IP attorneys can in turn use the time in other important tasks and onboarding of new clients.
- Virtual paralegals keep an eye on the complete process of an IP application from filing to grant. Moreover, they also take care of deadlines and respond to office actions whenever and wherever needed.
- As virtual paralegals observe the IP application throughout the process, they also give reminders for upcoming PTO deadlines. It is quite common for IP firms and professional IP practitioners to miss out on important patent and trademark office deadlines and upcoming proceeding dates. The reason behind this is also because the patent and trademark office sends many notices that give the deadline details of office action. But PTO does not send reminders for filing of office action responses. To make sure that no deadline is missed, virtual paralegals keep a track of these deadlines and send regular reminders.
Moreover, by reminding timely response to an office action, virtual paralegals help the IP law firms and professionals to eliminate the chances of late fee payment due to missing deadlines. Not only that, on-time filing of office action responses makes sure that the minimum number of IP applications are abandoned or rejected building the trust of clients. All these benefits answer the question about why should I hire a virtual paralegal.
What are the Services Offered by Virtual Paralegals?
Virtual paralegals assist the IP application filing procedure from beginning till end in the following ways:
- It is imperative to file an accurate IP application with zero mistakes to avoid any issue with USPTO. A flawless IP application makes the first step in granting IP rights to the client. To make sure of this, the the documents and details must be filed as per the USPTO’s format. By making use of their knowledge of USPTO rules, virtual paralegals assist IP law firms and professionals in the preparation of a perfect IP application including formal documents, assignment, power of attorney, as well as declaration. By double-checking the files, virtual paralegals assure of the correctness of the information and send reports in case of any issues.
- Also, virtual paralegals assist in preparing filing packages as well as the overall process of filing. This involves making application data sheets, information disclosure statements, replacements, preliminary amendments, etc.
The prosecution stage of intellectual property needs a huge amount of effort. The virtual paralegals help the law firms and attorneys during the prosecution process by managing the docketing services. They also analyze the allowance notices and frame 1.312 amendments to eliminate the additional costs that go into correction.
Virtual paralegals assist by performing patent proofreading and preparation of certificates of correction (CoC). They also calculate the patent term adjustment as well as expiry dates.
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