14 US patent applications that managers of legal departments might want to know about

A previous post on my spelunking among US patent filings for those that have relevance to law department managers lists two granted patents (See my post of Jan. 23, 2009: many more patents that pertain to legal department managers.). This post gives a quick summary of the remaining 14 applications I found among the first 100 matches I reviewed. I quote the first line of the abstract for each. Don’t feel bad if you can’t understand the attrocious writing.

  1. Legal expense tracking and approval methods and systems — Application 20010034675 (“Methods and systems for tracking and approving legal expenses using a legal expense tracking system are disclosed.”)

  2. Automated legal action risk management — Application 20020143562 (“A risk management method and system for facilitating analysis and quantification of risks associated with a legal action.”)

  3. System and method for managing legal documents — Application 20080040400 (“The present invention provides a system for managing legal documents.”)

  4. System and method for performing a legal audit — Application 20040064340 (”A system and method for performing legal audits of corporate records and legal documents to identify areas of potential litigation for a company in advance of the commencement of actual litigation or other legal dispute.”)

  5. Automated web-based tool to manage legal agreements and projects — Application 20040220819 (“An automated system for interfacing a user, such as a project engineer, a legal representative of a legal department, and a customer in the generation of legal agreements within a project development process.”).

  6. Methods and systems for managing and approving legal expenses — Application 20050246274 (“A method for tracking and approving legal expenses incurred by a business entity using a legal budgeting system is provided.”)

  7. Computerized legal case management system incorporating reconciliation feature — Application 20060206490 (“A method for docketing and reporting activities related to a legal case by first establishing a database in a computer memory for storing case data comprised of a plurality of docket records associated with the legal case.”)

  8. Legal and regulatory compliance program and legal resource database architecture — Application 20020194014 (“A distributed risk management system, computer program, and method are provided that together provide a comprehensive source of risk management and compliance information that permits businesses to more effectively manage risks associated with business activities.” )

  9. Method and system for role-based access control to a collaborative online legal workflow tool — Application 20040025048 (“A computer system and method for distributed legal workflow security provides role-based access control to a collaborative online workflow tool.”)

  10. Legal billing enhancement method and apparatus — Application 20080255972 (“A method of creating a finalized invoice, having steps of creating a preliminary invoice, the invoice including individual tasks for activities accomplished, submitting the preliminary invoice to an automated rules engine, searching the preliminary invoice for keywords that define possible violations of a company’s litigation billing guidelines, highlighting any invoice task that contains identified keywords that would define a possible violation of a company’s litigation billing guidelines, querying a user to accept changes to an invoice task based upon the identified keywords, and modifying the preliminary invoice into the finalized invoice after the accepted changes have been conducted after the querying of the user.”)

  11. Systems, methods, and interfaces for aggregating and providing information regarding legal professionals — Application 20060190490 (“The present inventors devised systems, methods, interfaces, and software that can facilitate identification of law firms and/or legal professionals.”)

  12. Computer-implemented method and system for handling business transactions within an inhomogeneous legal environment — Application 20030041033 (“A mechanism for performing business transactions, comprising an integrator service connected to a first company’s intranet or an independent legal integrator service provider.”)

  13. Expert legal task management — Application 20040260569 (“A method of managing a complex task is organized around a central outline, which starts with all of the possible subtasks and which is pared to remove non-relevant subtasks.”)

  14. Network system for handling requests for proposal relating to the provision of legal services — Application 20020069154 (“An apparatus for managing communications between a patent attorney and prospective client comprising: a control unit for receiving a client request generated by a prospective client, relating to a desire for legal services including a fee request; means for assisting a client in formulating a request for proposal to be distributed to a patent attorney throughout the system; means for distributing the request for proposal to said attorneys; and means for receiving bids from attorneys who receive the request for proposal.”)

Did you spot the “inhomogeneous”? Answer: #12

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