Why would a company implement LEDES Disclosures?

  • Improve quality of data contained in disclosures
  • Ensure that required data is contained in disclosures
  • Improve ability to harvest and use disclosure information
  • Expedite the disclosure handling process
  • Interoperability with different inventors’ systems
  • Interoperability with different law firms’ systems
  • Interoperability with matter management systems
  • Consistency with WIPO ST.96 patent application schemas

Why would a law firm implement LEDES Disclosures?

A law firm would likely implement LEDES Disclosures for the same reasons as its clients.  However, a law firm is even more likely to receive from a diverse group of senders, from individual inventors to large corporations.  The ability to interoperate with a wide range of sending applications should be very beneficial.  Offering simple, free disclosure data entry software to prospective clients may be an effective marketing tool.  On the other hand, the inability to offer an open standard to prospective clients may be a competitive disadvantage.

Why would an individual inventor implement LEDES Disclosures?

An individual inventor would likely implement LEDES Disclosures for many of the same reasons as companies.  Further, individual inventors may not wish to purchase or maintain a relatively complex IP management software package.  An individual inventor may wish to “roll her own” or use a light data entry application.

How might a basic implementation of LEDES Disclosures appear?

An implementation of the LEDES Disclosure standard is largely invisible to the end user.  The inventor would likely have disclosure data entry software on the inventor’s computer.  This data entry software would create an XML document containing the disclosure information and would then check or “validate” that information against the LEDES Disclosure schema.  The LEDES Disclosure schema is stored at the LEDES website and can be accessed at no cost, so the end user does not need to worry about maintaining or paying for the schema.  When the disclosure data has been validated, the inventor’s data entry software transmits the data to the company’s IP management system.  The company’s IP management system also validates the disclosure data against the LEDES Disclosure schema and may update the data packet.  The company’s IP management system may re-transmit the disclosure data to a law firm for further handling or to a general corporate matter management system.

How would an end user implement LEDES Disclosures?

The end user may not need to know much about the technical aspects of the LEDES Disclosure standard.  The primary concern for the end user is to ensure that the software that creates, modifies or receives a LEDES Disclosure document fully conforms to the latest version of the LEDES Disclosure standard.  In particular, your software should “validate” the LEDES Disclosure document against the LEDES Disclosure schema every time the document is created, modified, or received. If interoperability with other software is desired, the end user should also ensure that the software package implements few (preferably no) custom extensions.

If you are investigating IP management software and want to implement LEDES Disclosures, you may want to ask if the software: generates XML documents that conform to the latest LEDES Disclosure standard; validates generated XML documents against the LEDES Disclosure schema; implements any custom extensions; and, implements optional but standard LEDES Disclosure elements.  This latter area may involve some detailed discussion to ensure that the vendor’s implementation matches your needs. If the software implements custom (non-standard) extensions, you might ask if the software developer is working with LEDES so that LEDES can add new elements to the standard schema to replace the custom extensions.

If the end user wants to develop an application that creates a LEDES Disclosure document, the end user can find necessary information in the LEDES IPMM Disclosure implementation manual. Several options exist to develop XML documents that conform to the LEDES Disclosure standard.  Theoretically, one can create an XML document with a text editor (e.g., Microsoft Notepad) but that would be very inefficient for most applications.  Microsoft InfoPath is little-known but readily available to many who use Microsoft Office.  InfoPath can be used to develop electronic forms that create XML documents and validate the documents against schemas.  However, creating and maintaining electronic forms can require substantial time and data management expertise.  In the long run, commercial IP management software that fully conforms to the LEDES Disclosure standard may be the most effective approach especially if a large number of disclosures are generated or processed.  On the other hand, one advantage of LEDES Disclosures is that XML documents are easily accessible, non-proprietary and well-documented and hence can be readily integrated into different applications.