Elif Levin


Specifications for the acquisition of cloud software for IP management

Introduction of property rights management software in companies and law firms

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Requirements for manufacturing companies (specifications, performance requirements)

The following article describes the requirements for acquiring cloud software for IP (intellectual property) management in different sizes of companies and in IP law firms.

Nowadays, the expectation of an IP management includes not only the management of intellectual property such as patents and utility models, trademarks, copyrights and designs and the related contracts and legal proceedings (disputes), but also the seamless cooperation, i.e. almost an integration of different user groups even outside the own structure. Furthermore, as a patent management program or even trademark management program, once the company's internal data is all available, it is also a good idea to enrich it with features that enable strategic considerations and thus provide the company with well-founded support.

We will provide you with a rough listing of requirements to consider below. The listed contents of a specification are intended only as a guide for acquiring cloud software to efficiently manage an organization's Intellectual Property (IP). IP management plays a critical role in businesses and law firms, whether it is to ensure the protection of intellectual property or, from a business perspective, to maximize or fully protect the value of one's innovations. All of this transparently for each party involved in a company, with appropriate representation per role. With appropriate cloud software, various aspects of IP management can be centralized, automated and optimized.

Although it may seem daunting at first to have to define requirements even for a smaller IP department or law firm, the benefits of doing so are not negligible. Requirements for cloud software for IP management should be defined, if only to represent the values and focus of each operation and thus efficiently support a selection process among numerous vendors. Being thorough in this process will ensure that the selection falls on a vendor that is the right fit for you. Without a requirements catalog, one can quickly be overwhelmed by the flood of information and possibly make the wrong decisions, since the market for software for managing intellectual property is almost unmanageably large, with a wide variety of players and ideas and different focuses. On the other hand, it is precisely this large number of providers that makes it possible to find out what is best for oneself and to choose from a large number of options, for which the help of a specification sheet is useful. Quite apart from data protection requirements, technical requirements for the cloud, a wide variety of user profiles, depending on the way a company works. These simply all want to be considered and transported in the direction of the potential manufacturer!

The selection of the suitable software could be difficult, but becomes realizable by a requirement specification and individually according to genuine own requirements purposefully feasible

Specification contents

How should you start when creating a specification? First of all, you record the objective of the specification as a management summary, so to speak. This could look like this:

Objective of the specifications

The cloud software for IP management is intended to enable effective management of an organization's IP assets to maximize their value and minimize potential legal risks. For example, the software should achieve the following goals (consider your own goals that you would like to achieve by using the software):

Centralization of IP data

The software should provide a central database to store all relevant information on patents, trademarks, copyrights and other IP assets.

Efficient management of patents and trademarks

The software should provide functions for monitoring deadlines, renewals, payments and other tasks related to IP rights.

Support for IP strategy

The software should provide tools to develop, monitor and implement a long-term IP strategy.

Integration with external data sources

The software should offer the possibility to integrate external data sources such as patent databases or trademark registers in order to optimize the information flow.

Collaboration and communication

The software should enable functions for collaboration and communication between the various stakeholders in IP management.

Then start detailing the specifications.

At first, the idea of creating a requirements specification is challenging. Imagine that you only define requirements that exactly match your application profile. This benefits you and it also benefits the vendor company. The content you outline is then described in more detail by the vendor company. You could almost think of it as you drawing the framework for a fully realized deployment of software, while the vendor provides you with the colors.
A specification sheet is of great value when it comes to concretizing requirements. The requirements are summarized and outlined concretely and quickly. The details are supplied by the software company.

It should cover the following chapters:

1. description of the company that wants to purchase the IP Management Software from the Cloud.

You start with a detailed description of the company that wants to purchase the cloud software for IP management. This should include information such as

the industry,
the size of the company,
the number of employees and
Locations to be included.
The mission of the company can also be presented.

We then continue with the general requirements.

2. general requirements for the IP management system (IPMS for short)

Cloud based solution

It should be a cloud-based solution. The software must be hosted in the cloud for easy access and seamless integration with the existing IT infrastructure.

Ease of use

The software should provide an intuitive user interface that is easy to learn and use. It should have a clear and concise presentation of information to improve user efficiency.


The software should be able to scale with the growing needs of the business. It should have high scalability to support the addition of new users, sites and IP assets.


The software must implement stringent security measures to ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of IP data. It should provide security features such as encryption, access control and regular security updates.

Then we move on to the desired functionalities of an Intellectual Property Management Software.

3. desired functionalities of an IPMS

3.1 IP data management

The software should provide the ability to efficiently capture, store, organize and manage IP data. Capture and manage patents, trademarks, designs, copyrights and other IP assets, as well as contracts and conflicts. The software should provide a quick and compact overview of IP rights and IP families. The representation as a family tree is helpful.

3.1.1 Automated monitoring of deadlines, extensions and payments.

For the automated monitoring of deadlines, extensions and payments, the software should, on the one hand, provide the deadlines of the region of the company's registered office that is purchasing the software in full. If the company or law firm is located in Germany, at least the deadlines of the following offices should be made available. It should be considered whether and to what extent you enrich the specifications with details that you can obtain from public sources (the patent and trademark offices). Here we reference for you the offices of the region Germany (user company or user law firm located in Germany):

German Patent Office
German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA)
Here you can find a patent information sheet of the German Patent and Trademark Office, from which you can take essential information for a patent application .
European Patent Office
European Patent Office (EPO)
The European Patent Office provides information on the procedural steps on the Internet at this link .
International Patent Office, World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO)
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
The International Patent Office, WIPO even provides the deadlines in the form of a deadline calculator, which you can access here if you wish.
German Patent and Trademark Office
Here you can find a trademark information sheet of the German Patent and Trademark Office, from which you can take essential information for a trademark application .
European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO)
The EUIPO also provides information on the development of an EU trademark, which you can access here .
The International Trademark System (Madrid) at the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO)
WIPO provides some information for filing trademarks under the International Trademark Agreement at this link .
Designs/European Designs:
German Patent and Trademark Office for the registration of designs
Here you will find a design information of the German Patent and Trademark Office, from which you can take essential information for a design application .
European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO)
The EUIPO also provides information on the development of a European design, which you can access here .
The International Design System (Hague System) at the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO)
WIPO provides some information and services online for filing designs under the international Hague system at this link .

In order not to go beyond the scope here, we have not dealt with the other regions outside Germany at the moment. Also the further offices relevant in the DACH region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) were not treated (like of course the Austrian Patent Office, the Swiss Patent Office, but also the US Patent Office, or further essential offices of countries, which have great relevance for German, Austrian or Swiss companies). (Note: The deadlines that have to be generated are of course available to us. If you need assistance here, please do not hesitate to contact us).

Now we move on to the functional requirements for an IPMS in the recording and management of intellectual property rights:
3.1.2 Document management

Document management should enable versioning of documents and management of change tracking. It should be possible to ensure that documents can be edited online, without having to download documents continuously to the PC or device being used for each edit. Depending on the extent of the focus on documents, further requirements should of course also include the possibility of classifying documents, providing them with properties (so-called tags or labels) and categorizing them.

3.1.3 Monitoring and tracking of various specifications

The software should provide functions for monitoring deadlines, payments, license agreements and other important IP events. It should send notifications and reminders to ensure that important deadlines are not missed. Integrate patent databases and trademark registers to automatically update IP data.

3.1.4 Reporting and analysis

The software should provide extensive reporting and analytics capabilities to provide insights into the company's IP portfolios. It should provide customizable reports, charts and dashboards to track trends, costs and performance. Generate reports and analytics to evaluate IP portfolio performance. Assist in the development and implementation of an IP strategy.

3.1.5 Collaboration and workflow

The software should provide collaboration and workflow management features to facilitate collaboration between users. It should provide the ability to assign tasks, leave comments, and documents.

Seamless collaboration, if necessary, even without an increased volume of e-mails, should definitely be ensured

Non-functional requirements:

The cloud software should meet the following non-functional requirements:


The software must meet high security standards to ensure the protection of sensitive IP data. This includes data encryption, access controls, and regular security checks. Role-based access control to ensure data security.


The software should be able to scale with the growth of the IP portfolio and the number of users without compromising performance.


The cloud software should provide high availability and resilience to access the IP data at any time.


The software should be able to integrate with existing IT systems and infrastructures to ensure the smooth flow of data.


The user interface of the software should be designed intuitively and allow easy navigation and quick familiarization. User-friendly interface and intuitive operation.

Technical requirements:

The software should meet the following technical requirements:

Cloud-based deployment with a reliable and scalable infrastructure.

Compatibility with various operating systems and web browsers.

It should be noted here that cloud software should be usable from any device using the popular web browsers GoogleChrome, Microsoft Edge, Firefox and Safari without any further installations and the like.

Support for mobile devices to access IP data on the go.

Avoid using apps on your mobile device and instead look for providers whose software can be accessed from any device using common web browsers (see above).

Regular updates and maintenance of the software by the provider.

Check whether the vendor provides regular updates that include significant customizations. Since you have to rely on the information provided by the vendor's user base here, it is advisable to either contact a large number of people from the user base or become part of the user base over a longer period of time so that you can experience for yourself how the vendor company acts with regard to software updates.

Data migration options for importing existing IP data.

The most essential functionality should be that the new tool can at best fit seamlessly into the existing IT landscape. For example, make sure that interfaces are available and that they correspond to the latest state of the art. If you need advice on this, we will also be happy to help you with technical questions.

In larger companies, there are many supporting software and database structures that want and should be used and, if necessary, exchanged with each other.

Project management and cost control:

The acquisition of cloud software for IP management should follow a structured project management approach. This includes:

Definition of a project manager and a project team.

Establish a timeline and milestones for the selection and implementation process.

Determine the budget for software acquisition, training and support.

Set the budget and negotiate with the vendor company accordingly. Set fixed prices. Have the supplier confirm your requirements in writing. Do not accept any verbal statements. Fix everything at a fixed price. If statements are made that are customary in the industry and contain unspecified performance statements, specify them and have a price set for them as well as a definition of what the consequences will be if the agreed software or the agreed software services are not delivered. In this way, you can also determine the degree of seriousness of the supplier company.

Conduct a comprehensive vendor selection, considering references, experience, functionality, and cost.

References should be added to the specifications with contact person and extension numbers.

Experiences of users that have already been queried can also be mentioned in a specification.

Functionality should be listed comparably to other vendor companies.

The same applies to costs; license costs and deployment costs should be compared separately.

Conduct testing and evaluation of selected software prior to final decision.

A test of the selected software should only be done using data. A software without data content will not bring you any further in the short test period. A reputable manufacturer should allow or offer you a small introduction to the software for the test period. Make sure that protective rights data, documents, and already generated deadlines are available in your test position. The same applies to evaluations (reports), addresses of test persons and test companies as well as the possibility to assign tasks among several users.

Plan and conduct training for users of the software.

Introductory training should be provided. This should take place as close as possible to the imminent use of the software. Experience has shown that the period between training and the first use of the software should never be longer than ten days. It is recommended to proceed in small steps. The training sessions should not last longer than half an hour to an hour each and should be a series of appointments. At each appointment (from the second appointment onwards), collected questions from all users should be briefly answered at the beginning.

Establish a continuous support and maintenance plan.

A reputable vendor company should commit to a support and maintenance plan. This should contractually define response times to specific errors according to error prioritization. These can look like this:

Definition of the errors

There are Prio1 faults, Prio2 faults, Prio3 faults and Prio4 faults. Error prioritization is based on the amount of damage that an error entails. For example, if the software fails in such a way that no one can access it (example: Manufacturing company installs an update on site and the software no longer starts) this is definitely a Prio1 error. A Prio1 error should be fixed within 24 hours at the latest. Below are a few examples of how you can classify the errors and the corresponding response times:

The guaranteed response times are significant depending on the prioritization of the error.

An example of guaranteed response times and the definition of fault priorities

Priority 1 errors include unavailability of the system or other unforeseen events that prevent working with the software. They must be fixed within 24 hours of the next business day.

Priority 2 errors include glaring content errors, such as the unavailability of individual modules of the software. They must be fixed within 72 hours of the next 3 business days.

Priority 3 errors are minor defects and errors that do not significantly hinder the work with the software, but should be fixed. These errors must be fixed within 14 days.

Priority 4 errors are insignificant blurbs, defects and errors that do not interfere with the work with the software. These errors are corrected at the discretion of both parties, and the parties are referred to as the Provider Company and the Customer Company.

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