As you may remember, a while back I posted some ideas for a patent workflow tool. It is taking a while, what with actual work and family commitments. However, I finally have a rough-and-ready prototype covering at least the initial review stage.
The application* is built in Flask. It generates an XML document containing the entered data. Fields are rendered based on the XML document (making use of XSLT). To avoid file system headaches, XML data is stored as string data in an SQLite3 database. The data is indexed using a hash masquerading as a key identifier. The key identifier can then be passed as a URL parameter to retrieve a particular XML document. Although nowhere near a fully working “thing”, the code is here if you want a look: https://github.com/benhoyle/attass .
Initial Review: Process Overview in Pictures
First we enter our case reference:
Then we enter the communication details and the objections raised:
Then we briefly enter salient details of each objection raised in the communication. This can be used for reporting and as a reference for a later, more detailed review:
There is an option to enter further objections under the same category (see the lower checkbox). This adds an additional XML element and populates it with data from a template. Once submit is pressed, fields for a next objection will load:
The result is then a populated XML document that forms the starting point for a response:
Where from here?
The aim is that objections entered in the initial review will be addressed through a detailed review and/or instructions. As we initially enter the objections, we do not have to worry about missing objections or approaching things in a less efficient order. The workflow also allows a response to be split into a number of modular processes. These are then ripe for outsourcing, e.g. to paralegal staff or trainees, allowing an attorney to concentrate their time on the “meat” of the objections and thus saving money for clients. The workflow also provides mental scaffolding that is perfect for trainees and/or sleep-deprived attorneys with young children/dogs.
- Map XML to more user-friendly form fields;
- Sort the loading of existing data;
- Sort the CSS for that tiny textarea;
- Build an XSL file that transforms the result of the initial review to text for storage or reporting;
- Work out how to use cloud storage APIs to automatically save a copy of the above to a document management system;
- Add detailed review workflow, including bespoke processes for novelty, inventive step and patentability/excluded subject matter;
- Add easy “report bug/suggest feature” reporting for iterative updates; and
- Host on a £30 Raspberry Pi in the office.