The U.S. Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) serves as a gatekeeper for innovation, yet its approach to processing patents remains fairly manual and boilerplate. Paralegals in intellectual property (IP) practices are often relegated to wrangling information from PDF files to prepare “shells,” or templated documents attorneys can use to respond to office actions.

Dave Billmaier, vice president of product marketing for TurboPatent, explained that the company’s new product, SmartShell, combines automation and text processing to help attorney support staff extract and locate key information from office actions for shell preparation. But does this really expedite and simplify patent processing? LTN takes a look:

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