Standard Codes for Patent and Trademark Billing an Industry First
HOUSTON–LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire –The LEDESTM Oversight Committee (LOC), a not-for-profit organization charged with creating and maintaining open standard formats for the electronic exchange of legal billing and information, has announced that it has ratified intellectual property (IP) code sets for billing related to patent and trademark expenses.
The first of its kind for IP, the code sets provide legal professionals with standard, industry-endorsed IP billing description codes that promise to simplify law firm and corporate legal department billing processes.
The code sets were developed by the Uniform Task-Based Management System (UTBMS) IP Working Group, which operates as a subcommittee of the LOC. More than 200 lawyers from companies, law firms and agents worldwide contributed to the creation of these code sets. This ratification culminates more than two years of work by the group.
“There was a real need for these code sets within the legal community,” said Domenic Leo, chair of the UTBMS IP Working Group and vice president of intellectual property business development for DataCert. “Until now, there was no IP billing code standard. Many corporations had developed their own trademark and patent billing codes, which meant that there were numerous customized codes to describe each expense. These IP billing code sets will eliminate the ‘Tower of Babel’ confusion and supply a unified language for IP billing descriptions.”
The confusion related to IP billing is not confined to corporations. Fortune® 500 law departments often work with hundreds or thousands of law firms and agents worldwide to prepare, prosecute and protect their critical intellectual property. By adopting the new standard, the exchange of bills and examination of charges will be vastly simplified. This will eventually lead to benefits such as the ability of corporate law departments to benchmark costs across industries and to increase practice efficiencies in the preparation and prosecution of patents and trademarks.
“Our goal is that these code sets will help companies understand where they are spending IP services dollars,” explained Bill Heinze, chair of the UTBMS IP Working Group patent subcommittee and patent procurement counsel for GE Energy. “The code sets will allow consumers to compare similar services from different providers. Suppliers will be able to use the codes as a way to discuss differences in pricing and align work expectations.”
Jane Bennitt, president of the LOC and manager consultant at Baker Robbins & Company, commented, “UTBMS coding is an ubiquitous aspect of electronic billing today. We encourage the legal community to participate in the LOC’s UTBMS comment and ratification processes.”
“The IP Working Group tackled this job with an extremely collaborative strategy that allowed all interested parties to contribute their expertise,” remarked Brad Blickstein of The Blickstein Group. He drove the formation of the group in 2005 and continues to oversee its work as a member of the LOC board of directors. “Standard codes for patent and trademark billing are in high-demand by the legal community. I commend the IP Working Group for their exemplary dedication and hard work.”
Under the LOC’s care, the codes will be positioned for needed updates, improvements and corrections with the collaborative help of IP professionals.
The LOC will now present the code sets to other organizations for their consideration and endorsement in a move to further their adoption throughout the industry.
The Uniform Task-Based Management System (UTBMS) is a budgeting and billing system designed to provide clients and law firms with meaningful cost information on legal services. For more information, visit www.utbms.com.
About the LOC
The LEDESTM (Legal Electronic Data Exchange Standard) Oversight Committee (LOC) is an international, voluntary, not-for-profit organization comprised of legal industry representatives and is charged with creating and maintaining open standard formats for the electronic exchange of billing and other information between corporations and law firms. For more information, visit www.ledes.org.