AppColl is a cloud-based intellectual property management system that includes seven distinct and integrated modules. These modules are: Tasks, Matters, Prior Art, Files, Billing, Reports, and Contacts. This document provides an overview of AppColl and each of these modules, what they do, and why you would use them.
Each of the seven modules can be accessed by clicking on one of the seven buttons at the top of the page. All modules have the same basic layout built around a table of records , a Make Changes section , a Navigate Section (if the module has multiple pages) , and a Change View section . All modules have a set of icon links to export/download data and links into your settings .
The table shows records within the AppColl database for the current module. Each record occupies a row in the table and clicking on any row opens a details screen for that record.
Clicking on a column header sorts the table by that column. Clicking again reverses the sort. The records may be filtered (i.e. show only records that meet filter criteria) using the "Add Filters" button in the Change View section . Each module has a different set of available columns that can be added, removed, or repositioned by clicking the Columns link in the upper right corner .
For every user that logs in, AppColl saves changes to sorting, filtering, and columns separately for each module. These changes remain in effect until they are changed again.
The information in a table can easily be downloaded from AppColl as either a PDF file (for printing or emailing) or a Comma Separated Values (CSV) file (for manipulating or formatting in a spreadsheet program such as Excel).
To generate a PDF of the table, click on the PDF icon . To email a PDF to someone click on the Mail icon. Clicking the Excel icon opens a popup window where you can select whether to export "Visible information only" or "All information in the database" for the module. Visible information only includes the rows and columns currently visible in the table (including additional pages if the number of rows exceeds the value of Items/Page ). All information includes all rows and columns (whether visible or not). Selecting All Information, is the best way to archive data. The entire AppColl database can be downloaded to your local computer by exporting all information for each module.
From the Make Changes section , you can add a new record to the table, and edit or delete multiple rows simultaneously. To add a new record to any module in AppColl, you will always find the Add button in the upper-left corner of the margin. Other commands in the Make Changes section are module specific.
For example, the Tasks module Make Changes section allows for bulk edits for changing task owners, closing tasks, adding documents or comments, deleting tasks, and more. The Change View section in the Matters module allows for adding or deleting matters, creating matter specific form letters, changing matter contacts and more.
The Navigate section provides links to other pages associated with a module (if any). For the Tasks module, a link is provided to view/edit the Task Types and their rules.
The Change View section is used to select which database records (i.e., rows) are shown for each module. The number of records shown/available is displayed next to the title at the top of the table (6). “(220 of 2735)” means there are 2735 task records in the Tasks module that have been filtered down to 220 based on the settings in the Change View section (in this case, showing only “All Open” tasks). Depending on the value of Items/Page in the Change View section, you may also see a drop down to select the page of records to show. The Wrap Text checkbox will cause AppColl to display as many columns as possible on the page, even if it means showing fewer rows, by wrapping text in the table cells.
You may narrow the list of rows based on one or more filtering criteria. Every database field associated with the module may be used as a filter (even if it is not shown as a column in the table). Click the Add Filters button to open the Filters popup window, shown below. Select a column to filter on followed by filtering criteria. Click the Add button, and AppColl will show the number of rows meeting the filter criteria. Additional filters can be added to further narrow the row count. Clicking the trashcan icon next to a filter deletes it. Clicking the Execute button runs the filters and returns all rows meeting the criteria. Filters applied to a module remain intact until they are changed or removed.
Back in the left margin, at the top of the Change View section is a Save View as Report button. This button saves the current set of filters, columns and sort order as a report, which can be run later without re-entering the criteria. After saving a report, it will appear in the drop-down beneath the Save View as Report button. Selecting the report from the drop-down menu will show the database records that match the filters at that time. You can create and run reports from any module, and schedule reports to be run and emailed at pre-defined intervals, in the Reports Module.
AppColl maintains an extensive knowledge base of articles and videos covering a wide array of topics. The knowledge is accessed from the Browse Help Articles and Videos link in the upper right corner of any screen.
Quick and easy access to support is provided on every page . Click the Send us a Comment or Question link in the upper right corner to launch the popup window shown below. Typing a question in the Description box and clicking on the Send to AppColl button creates a case in our help system. Clicking the Previous Question tab provides a list of all questions submitted to AppColl and their current status. Clicking on one of the questions will open the full details of the response.
The main purpose of the Tasks module is to show your active docket, using "tasks."
A task is either a) something someone needs to complete, such as "Respond to Non-Final Office Action," or b) a record of an event, such as "Received Non-Final Office Action."
The Tasks module is used to add, update, and close tasks in the system, and to add to or modify the available task types and trigger events that cause tasks to automatically generate.
All tasks have a status. If the status is “Open," work needs to be done on that task. If the status is something other than “Open,” the task is considered closed and no more work is required. Note that having a status other than “Open” does not mean the task was actually completed. For example, the status of the task, "Respond to Final Office Action - 2 Month Deadline," may be “Missed," which means the work was not completed by the deadline and an extension was required. If a task is a record of an event, it will be added to the docket with a status other than "Open," because it is something that already occurred.
Patent prosecution docketing items are tasks, as are internal workflow items, such as reporting to a client when an office action is received. Tasks are normally associated with matters in the system, although this is not required. Tasks are usually generated automatically in response to data changing in the system, either through manual changes (such as adding a filing date to a matter), when data is imported via an XML file or spreadsheet, or when another task changes status.
Commands in the Make Changes section of the left margin allow you to perform common operations on multiple tasks simultaneously. For example, using the "Close Tasks" button, you can easily complete multiple tasks at once, or using the "Set Owner" button, you can reassign task ownership to all tasks that match a particular filter.
Clicking on a task row opens the task details page where changes can be made, documents attached, and comments added. The bottom portion of the task details page shows general details and important dates about the matter associated with the task (if any).
Tasks can also have emails associated with them (called “Notifications”) that are sent automatically at certain points in time, normally when the task changes status. These emails can be populated with information from the database (similar to the mail merge feature in a word processor), simplifying the creation of standardized emails for certain activities.
A matter is something associated with a set of tasks and billed separately to one client. Examples would be patent or trademark applications, invention disclosures, litigation cases, licensing agreements, and copyright filings. All of these can be entered and tracked in AppColl.
The Matters module is used to manage all types of matters. Matters can be added and updated, and for convenience, tasks associated with a matter can be easily updated directly from the Matter Details page for a matter.
All matters are identified in AppColl by the Attorney Ref field, which must be unique in the system and may use any combination of up to 128 characters. It normally contains the reference number or name used by the firm managing the matter.
Matters normally have one key owner, the Attorney, although multiple people can be associated with a matter using other available fields such as Partner, Paralegal and Contributor. The attorney for a matter is typically the default owner of tasks generated for that matter. However, this can be changed on a per-task-type basis.
Matters have a status, which generally indicates the current point in the life span of the matter. Patent matters for example, would go through the following statuses: Unfiled, Pending, Published, Issued, Expired.
Matters can be connected, creating a family. Matter connections are normally generated automatically for patents and trademarks when importing data from the USPTO Private Pair and TSDR websites, although connections can be added manually. There are two main types of connections: priority connections, which affect the priority date of patent matters, and others, which are used for generating Information Disclosure Statements in the Prior Art module.
Clicking on a matter row opens the Matter Details page. Each Matter Details page is divided into three sections: commands (left margin), bibliographic information (top), and task history (bottom). Between the top and bottom sections, there is a vertically adjustable gray line to expand or decrease the height of the bottom section.
The command buttons in the left margin allow you to save changes to a matter, create a duplicate matter, and update the bibliographic information. You can also add tasks and billing items for the matter, and create PTO forms and custom form letters, both populated using information from the matters database.
Beneath the commands is the list of related matters based on the connections specified. Note that a direct connection is not required for matters to be related. If matter A is connected to matter B, and B is connected to matter C, AppColl will automatically determine that A is related to C.
The top portion of the Matter Details screen shows bibliographic information. For US patents and trademarks, this information is normally imported via XML data files downloaded from the USPTO Private Pair and TSDR websites. Patents are updated manually and trademarks are updated automatically every 7 days. Foreign patent and trademark matters must be imported from spreadsheets or manually entered since there are no public databases where AppColl can retrieve this information. The majority of the bibliographic information is common across both patents and trademarks. However, there are some differences between the two. For example, patent matters include inventors and art units, while trademark matters include goods and services, and an image of the logo or text.
The bottom section of the Matter Details page lists the task history of the matter, showing individual tasks with their status, comments, reference date, respond by date, final due date, closed on date, task owner and deadline type. This information is the same as available in the Tasks module, just limited to tasks associated with the matter. The status of a task in the task history can be changed quickly by simply clicking on the status text, then making your change within the resulting pop-up window. Clicking on a task name will open the task details page. If the matter has been updated via an XML import from the USPTO, several event tasks starting with “USPTO…” will be present showing the prosecution history as recorded by the USPTO.