Patent applications, patents, trademark applications, and trademarks may lapse if, for example, fees are not paid on time, or a domestic application not converted to an international application, or divisionals, continuations not sought, etc., and such deadlines are often recurring and spread out over months or years (and in the case of renewal fees decades) most intellectual property law firms, in-house IP departments and patent and trademark agents have multiple systems of reminders including computerized calendars, physical diaries, etc. to remind them not to miss such deadlines. These reminder systems are often colloquially referred to as ticklers. Patent firms may also recommend the use of patent annuity agents.
Because many IP prosecution actions may incur costs for the client, patent, trademark and other agents typically seek permission before taking certain steps and usually will ask a client for it. However, even if an intellectual property law firm has a tickler in place, it may be wise to attach an electronic calendar reminder (e.g., Outlook, etc.) to such consultative communication with a client requiring a response so that counsel can take action.