CITMA Conference – 13-15 March, London by Nick March

WebTMS representatives will be at the CITMA Spring Conference in London during 13th – 15th March 2019.

If you would like to book an appointment with us, please contact [email protected]or simply visit our stand in the exhibitors area any time during the conference.


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People and process – digital transformation in the legal sector by Nick March

Digital transformation has become a major buzzword in the past couple of years. Every industry is wrestling with the challenges and opportunities afforded by automation, artificial intelligence and the cloud – and the legal sector is no different. However, like many long-established and process-driven sectors that come under the “if it ain’t broke…” category, the industry has been slow to build momentum.

The clock is really ticking now, though. It’s critical for law firms to boost competitiveness by cutting costs, increasing efficiency and improving productivity, while at the same time delivering best value to clients, who increasingly want more for less. According to a recent PWC study 80% of law firms understand that digital transformation is necessary, but only 23% are in progress.

To me this points to reticence and uncertainty over deciding on the “right” path to take – a lack of guiding principles around which projects to pursue. I’d like to make the case that transformation must always deliver opportunities to enhance the client relationship, and that value can be created through the active management of digital technology.

Lifting the admin burden through automation

As a legal software company that’s been serving the sector since 1998, at WebTMS we’re naturally strong advocates of the benefits of automation and the flexibility of web and cloud-based software. Automating administrative processes cuts management time, freeing up staff for higher value tasks. It also reduces the risk of user error which, it need hardly be said, can have serious consequences in the legal environment. Furthermore, making management tools available to remote workers 24/7 via the cloud also increases employee flexibility, improving the working environment.

So far so good, but there are also pitfalls to over-automation that can lead to lost opportunities to deliver strong and profitable client management. There’s a need to strike a balance between automation and human management in order to deliver the best, most efficient client service.

Balancing automation with personalisation

Taking trademark prosecution within the management of Intellectual Property as our example: It’s well-suited to automation: typically it’s a fairly linear process that is deadline driven. There are several trademark management software options out there that assist in automating many aspects of trademark monitoring effectively, lifting the significant burden associated with docketing and deadline tracking – exactly what digital transformation is designed to achieve.

Nevertheless, I believe there has to be a human window on that automation. This means active management and alerts at key points that prompt client engagement activity. For example, when a trademark moves from pending to registered. The updated status will be refreshed automatically by the trademark management software and renewal deadlines created, so from that point of view no action is needed. However, this is also an excellent opportunity for client engagement, advising them that a long-awaited or business-critical mark has been granted and the context of the action. This shows that the firm has active control over the management of clients’ marks, building confidence and trust – two essential pieces of ‘soft’ capital in today’s competitive legal market.

Integrating people and process

I suppose what this really comes down to is the fact that the business of law, intellectual property and brand management is fundamentally a people-based endeavour. When we’re pursuing digital transformation/technology projects, whether that’s client-facing online “lawbots” or business process support for paralegals, the key questions are “how will this enable us to provide a better, more personal service to our clients?” “How will it make our employees’ lives easier?” Incidentally, those are the questions that potential suppliers should be falling over themselves to answer, too.

It’s also important to look at the cultural changes that digital transformation projects entail. Software, systems and processes that are designed to assist staff and clients will flounder if they meet resistance from those who have become accustomed to the “old ways”. That means software needs to be incredibly user-friendly and training straightforward and accessible.

Ultimately technology tools and staff must work effectively in tandem to deliver the best service for clients, while also reducing costs and administrative burden. Digital transformation and automation has a vital role to play, but should be viewed holistically in terms of the client relationship. Fundamentally, the human factor needs to dominate in the integration of people and process in order to reap the benefits of digital transformation.


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BREXIT – How will this affect my EU trade mark and design records in WebTMS? by Nick March

BREXIT – How will this affect my EU trade mark and design records in WebTMS?

The situation:

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock you will know that the UK is leaving the EU, aka BREXIT. Post BREXIT, registered EUTMS and RCD rights will no longer cover the UK. However, the UKIPO have agreed to automatically ‘clone’ these rights onto the UK Register post Brexit. Owners (or their representative) of pending EU rights who wish to extend that protection to the UK post BREXIT should file for a new UK application and claim priority from the pending EU right and there will be a nine-month window of opportunity from the ‘Exit’ date.

The ‘problem’:

Users of WebTMS (and other IP Records Management Platforms) need to ensure their IP platform truly reflects their IP portfolio post BREXIT i.e. with the sudden addition of a national UK record for every EU right they have AND that they do not miss out on the opportunity to file a UK application claiming priority from the pending EU right. Specifically put, this means the creation of a new UK record for every registered EUTM and RCD on your system – assuming the trademark holder has not opted out – see ‘The WebTMS Solution – point ‘7.’’ for more information in this respect.

DEAL or NO DEAL – Time frame is the only difference:

The situation described above is fundamentally the same in both the ‘DEAL’ or ‘NO DEAL’ situation, the only difference is the time frame. If there is a DEAL then the EU rights will stay in force in the UK until 31 December 2020, if there is NO DEAL then the EU rights will only stay in force in the UK until 29th March 2019 which means action is required a lot sooner….

The WebTMS solution:

WebTMS is working towards the following plan:

  1. The creation of an automatic procedure to clone the registered EU rights thereby creating the comparable UK records in your account and as per the notice issued by the UK IPO on the 21st February 2019, the number allocated to the comparable mark will be the last 8 digits of the EUTM prefixed with UK009.:
  • For clients on our hosted platform this will be entirely automatic
  • For clients who have installed WebTMS on their own servers, we will be in touch to provide an SQL script which automates the above.


  1. We will also create a new deadline in the system named ‘Brexit – Priority Deadline’ and we will include guidance on adding this to your pending EU rights in our March Webinar:


  1. WebTMS will create a home registration link from the UK record back to the EUTM record.


  1. There will be no charge for the procedure as it is considered a legal update, for which we do not charge an additional fee.


  1. The cloned record will not be counted against your total number of records managed in the system, therefore not increasing your current subscription cost.


  1. We will include a BREXIT preamble on our next Webinar, due in March. Invites will be sent to all clients in the usual manner.


  1. Opting Out – If you do not want WebTMS to assist you through this period (perhaps you have your own plans) please let us know otherwise we will assume you want our assistance as outlined above.


In Summary:

If you are a WebTMS user we are aiming to make this as smooth as possible and the records will be automatically created, there is no additional cost and we will also be addressing this in our March Webinar.

If you need to contact the WebTMS team regarding the above or any other matter, please see the following contact details:

[email protected]

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Webinar – WebTMS Infinity – Workflow Management by Nick March


The WebTMS Webinar series is back!
Please join us for our 1st webinar in 2019.

The topic is ‘Workflow Management ‘.


The purpose of this Webinar is to demonstrate how WebTMS can be utilised to create automatic dates prompting users to take action, in order to demonstrate several aspects of this we will be looking at the following areas:


  • Deadline Reminders
  • Record Reminders
  • Office action date (US)
  • Correct updating procedure of Next Renewal Due
  • Closing action dates (stat deadlines and reminders)
  • Deleting dates


Please click on one of the links below to sign up for the webinar:

Wednesday 23rd January at 5pm UTC, 12pm EST, 9am Pacific:

Thursday 24th January at 8am UTC, 9am CET, 6pm AEST:

Thursday 24th January at 11am UTC, 12pm CET:

We look forward to seeing you there.

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IIPLA Congress – Dubai, UAE by Nick March

Our first conference in 2019:

WebTMS are pleased to announce their attendance at the IIPLA Congress in Dubai, UAE during 14th – 15th January 2019.

If you would like to book an appointment with us, please contact [email protected]

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