Let the insanity begin! First-quarter annuity invoices are about to arrive; everyone is rushing to finalize filings and get those office action responses in before the year-end holidays and vacations, and budgets still need to be finalized. This week, we’re slowing things down and giving you our top 3 tips for IP Teams to end the year strong (and sane).
Let’s dig in!
#1 – Have the PTO holiday schedule on your calendar
Make sure you don’t run out of time at the end of the year and miss crucial deadlines due to holiday closures at the PTO. This is especially important for anyone trying to beat a fee increase (see tip #2). To help out, we’ve compiled the holiday schedules for several of the major PTOs
USPTO – Closed December 25th and January 1st
EPO – All offices closed December 25th through the 29th, Vienna closed December 8th, all offices closed January 1st
WIPO – December 25th, December 29th, January 1st
Canada Intellectual Property Office – Closed December 25, December 26, January 1st
Check this for a pretty good list of PTO Closures.
#2 – Get ahead of January 1 fee increases
There are quite a few fee increases coming on January 1. One of the most impactful increases is happening in Canada at the start of the year. There can be meaningful savings if you file your applications or make annuity payments (for payments due in the next six months) in December. We publish fee updates every Tuesday, subscribe to our updates to ensure you know what to expect. Don’t miss out on savings because you didn’t know a fee was being increased!
#3 – Revisit those Outside Counsel and Billing Guidelines
You have outside Counsel Guidelines, right? If not, get them in place! If you are like most organizations, you probably put them in place several years ago, and they are stored in some dark region of your document management system. This is a great time to revisit them and ensure they do their job. Do they cover FX exchange rates? What about standardized billing codes and service descriptions? We both know the answer…. You don’t need to overhaul everything; find one or two pain points and focus on them.
Nobody has time to take on anything new at the end of the year, but with a little planning, you can limit the surprises and start 2024 strong. As an added bonus, small improvements in your Outside Counsel Guidelines can save you hundreds of hours of wasted time and thousands of Euros/Dollars in 2024.