Monday, May 15, 2023

Q&A with GTC Law Group Principal John Monocello

John Monocello is a principal and patent strategy specialist with GTC Law Group. He leads the strategy and prosecution efforts for companies in various technology areas and has extensive experience in the life sciences, medical technology, and robotics domains. 

John recently shared how GTC Law Group leverages technology to support communication, productivity, and patent quality within the firm. The interview has been edited for length and clarity. 

Patent Bots founder Jeff O’Neill is a practicing patent attorney with GTC Law Group.

Patent Bots: GTC Law Group embraced remote work long before the pandemic. Why is that?

John Monocello: The type of work we do does not require us to be in a downtown highrise or what you would typically think of as an office for a law firm. We don’t do litigation. We don't go into court. We’re very much a patent strategy firm and work on transactions.

Long before the pandemic, we had people based all over the country. 

When you’re not limited by geography and requiring people to come into an office, you can attract excellent talent. You can be a little bit more flexible in this model and meet people where they are as far as childcare responsibilities, work-life balance, etc. In doing so, you get access to talent that might otherwise be disengaged from the workforce. 

PB: How has your firm leveraged technology to facilitate remote work?

JM: In a remote work environment, you have to be available because you can't just pop by someone’s desk or bump into each other at the watercooler. So, our culture leans toward overcommunication. We are very, very communicative – calling each other, instant messaging on Microsoft Teams, that sort of thing. 

We use various tools to collaborate around workflows and projects because email is just not very satisfying to work with. For example, we manage our approval processes using tools on the Office 365 platform.

We always have email running in the background for more formal communications, but we have a culture of very frequent communication across multiple channels.  

PB: GTC ranked second among firms with 50+ patents issued in our 2023 Patent Quality Rankings. How has your firm developed a culture of quality? 

JM: Good patent work requires excellent checklists and processes that you develop and hone over years of practice. 

Inside of those checklists and processes are the tools you use to maintain quality and consistency. For example, we require our people to use Patent Bots. It is not an optional tool. We don’t say, “This is something cool that you can use.” No. It's required.

Quality is not just a philosophy. It’s a methodology. 

Everyone on our team uses the same technologies and everyone is trained and versed in the checklist and the expectations. By requiring technology use at critical points in the process, we've been able to increase our quality and accuracy over time. 

PB: Patent quality is about more than technology, right?

JM: Absolutely! You have to leave room for the artistry of the individual practitioner. You have to leverage technology and discipline to maintain consistency and quality in the work product, but you don't want to suppress that individual artistry.  

That “artistry” is even more important in GTC’s strategic approach to developing business-relevant patent portfolios. Our approach requires significant creativity beyond the typical best practices for drafting and prosecuting a patent application.  

At GTC, we really respect the individual. We support our people with our remote work culture and with our commitment to process and technology. As a result, we don’t have a lot of turnover. People want to be here and we want to support them as practitioners and as people. 

Patent Bots and NAPP Partner to Deliver Patent Tools to NAPP Members

NAPP’s purchase of Patent Bots subscription grants members access to tools leveraging AI and big data. 

Patent Bots and The National Association of Patent Practitioners (NAPP) have partnered to deliver innovative software tools leveraging AI and big data to NAPP’s 350+ members.

As a part of the benefits of membership, NAPP members will now receive a subscription to Patent Bots Prep & Pros Pro, which is one of four software-as-a-service applications available through the Patent Bots platform.

“I've only been using Prep & Pros Pro for a short time, but it has already proven itself useful,” said NAPP board member and past president Dan Krueger, a practicing patent attorney. “The Office Action Explorer utility alone would be worth my annual NAPP membership fee. In my mind, the value of NAPP membership has just doubled.”

Patent Bots Prep & Pros Pro helps patent agents and attorneys streamline their existing workflows and improve their deliverables in a number of ways, including:

  • Reducing errors with AI-enabled patent proofreading. 
  • Saving time by automating tedious patent drafting tasks.
  • Increasing profits by finishing fixed-fee work in less time. 

“The average patent contains eight easily-detectable errors,” Patent Bots founder and practicing patent attorney Jeff O’Neill said. “Patent Bots Prep & Pros Pro will help NAPP members obtain stronger patents with fewer errors and broader applicability.”