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Patent FAQs

What is a provisional patent application?

A provisional application for patent (provisional application) is a U.S. national application filed in the USPTO. A provisional application provides the means to establish an early effective filing date in a later-filed non-provisional patent application. It also allows the term “Patent Pending” to be applied in connection with the description of the invention.

A provisional application for patent has a pendency lasting 12 months from the date the provisional application is filed. The 12-month pendency period cannot be extended. Therefore, an applicant who files a provisional application must file a corresponding nonprovisional application for patent (nonprovisional application) during the 12-month pendency period of the provisional application in order to benefit from the earlier filing of the provisional application.

What is a nonprovisional patent application?

By far, most patent applications filed at the USPTO are utility applications. Unlike a provisional patent application, a nonprovisional patent application is the patent filing that will actually become an issued U.S. patent. A nonprovisional patent application is much more detailed than a provisional application and it includes a section fully claiming your invention. If a nonprovisional patent application issues as a U.S. Patent, the owner will receive the exclusive right to exclude others from making, selling, or offering to sell the patent invention in the U.S.

What is a design patent application?

A design patent is a form of legal protection granted for the ornamental design of a functional item. Ornamental designs of jewelry, furniture, beverage containers and computer icons are examples of objects that are covered by design patents.

How much does a patent cost?

Cost depends on the type of application and subject matter of the invention. Generally, the range of our fees for filing patent applications are as follows:

  • Provisional patent application: $4,000—$6,000
  • Nonprovisional patent application: $8,000—$12,000
  • Design patent application: $3,000—$4,000

We offer fixed-fee billing arrangements for nearly all of our patent drafting and filing services. Once we learn more about your invention we will be able to give an exact cost for handling your particular filing.

Can I use a Mobile law firm if I live in another state?

Potential clients from other states are often referred to our law firm. The first question they usually ask is, “Can my company use your law firm since we are in another state?” If you are looking to file a patent or trademark, the short answer is “Yes!”

AdamsIP is an intellectual property law firm based in Mobile, but we work with clients across the globe. While we love representing our Gulf Coast neighbors, a large number of our clients are not local. Filing US patent and trademark applications is handled exclusively with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. As such, it doesn’t matter whether you are located in the same city, state, or country as your attorney. If you want to file a patent application or a trademark application, AdamsIP can help you.

There are times that clients prefer to work with a local IP law firm, particularly those that prefer in-person meetings, but AdamsIP is perfectly comfortable working with clients no matter where they are located. All of the work that needs to be done to prepare and file a patent or trademark application, and to see it through the examination process at the USPTO, can be accomplished by email and phone. When helpful, we are happy to use Skype or FaceTime as well.

If you are looking for an IP law firm to represent you, look for a firm with lawyers with whom you are comfortable working, look for a firm you believe to be a good fit for your work, look for a firm with whom you communicate well, and do not be afraid to work with a firm that isn’t local if you think that firm is the best fit for you.

Trademark FAQs

Do I need a trademark or copyright for my company’s logo?

A trademark or service mark is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods or services of one party from those of others. A copyright protects works of authorship, such as writings, music, and works of art that have been tangibly expressed. If your company uses its logo to sell goods or services, you probably need trademark or service mark protection. Consult with one of our attorneys to determine the best protection for your business.

What if another business is using my company’s name?

If another business is using your company’s name, logo, or slogan or one that is confusingly similar, you may have a claim for trademark infringement. Trademark infringement is legally actionable, and even unregistered marks can be enforced. Contact our attorneys to determine if you have a trademark infringement claim.

How long is the trademark process?

Federal trademark registration can take up to 18 months. In our experience, most trademarks register in 8 to 12 months. Contact us to help secure an early filing date!

May I use the ®?

You can legally use the ® symbol once your trademark is federally registered (not simply pending). This means that ® should not be used if you have a state trademark registration or an unregistered trademark. In that case, we recommend using ™ to put others on notice that you claim trademark rights. No registration is required to use ™.

Business FAQs

What is a patent license?

A patent owner has the right to license the use of his patent to others. The license agreement is a contract by the patent owner not to sue the licensee for using his patent. In return, the patent owner receives a royalty payment as agreed to between the parties. We have experience working with various types of patent licenses. Please contact us today to discuss patent licensing.

What is a NDA?

A nondisclosure agreement (NDA) is an agreement between two parties relating to certain duties to keep aspects of a disclosure or conversation secret. There are often confidentiality provisions included in these agreements.

Who owns my invention?

As the creator of a new invention, you are the owner of the claimed subject matter. Certain employment agreements or other contracts may alter or change this ownership presumption.

LLC or Corp?

Deciding between a limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation requires a great deal of thought and strategy. State of formation or incorporation is another important consideration.

What should I do before contacting you about protecting my idea?

If you believe that you may have a patentable invention, it is best to talk to a patent attorney as early in the process as practical. It is best to speak with a patent attorney before dislcosing your invention to others. If you must speak with others, it is best to get a non-disclosure in place beforehand. We will work with you in a free initial consultation to help you create a strategic plan and timeline and make sure you are aware of the potential pitfalls to avoid prior to filing your patent application. Don’t make a mistake and lose your patent rights, talk to us for free and learn what you will need to do to protect yourself. Whether you choose to work with us to implement your plan will then be up to you.

Alternative fee arrangements: why offer fixed fee, or flat rate, patent services?

AdamsIP generally offers alternative fee arrangements for patent and trademark services.

When a potential client contacts us to inquire about protecting an invention, we arrange a meeting by phone or in person to speak about the matter. We often provide the potential client with an invention disclosure form to assist the inventor in collecting his or her thoughts and notes regarding the invention. Through our conversations with the potential client and any information collected through the invention disclosure form, we are able to evaluate the scope of the invention and provide various strategies for protecting the invention. At this point, the potential client is able to choose the course of action most appropriate for the circumstances. All of AdamsIP’s services through this stage are without charge and without obligation.

When a client is interested in moving forward, we then provide our engagement letter and a corresponding fee agreement. Our fee agreement is a fixed fee, or flat rate, agreement that specifically identifies the scope of the matter and the fees due for the matter. The fee is determined based on the complexity of the project. Our fee includes all of our time for the matter as well as all anticipated fees. In the case of a patent application, the fixed fee includes all of our time for preparing and filing the application as well as any meetings, phone calls, emails, etc. related to the preparation and filing of the application; there are no hidden fees.

We begin working on the matter once we receive the signed engagement letter and the payment of the fee required in the fee agreement. By not starting any work on the matter until we have received payment in full, we are able to eliminate the costs of unpaid services that would otherwise be shared by our paying clients and keep our fees lower for every paying client. Further, having the fixed fee agreement upfront, before any commitment is made, the client is provided the opportunity to evaluate the costs and benefits with at least one side of the equation fixed. Our clients are protected from cost overruns and are provided highly predictable total fees. This helps our clients make more informed decisions as to whether to proceed with their patent matters before any investment is made.

When working for a flat fee that has been agreed in advance, there is no disincentive to communicate. In fact, there is a great incentive for the client to assist us in the patent process, to make another round of edits, to call us with any questions, to do the things necessary for us to prepare the best work product possible. Knowing that the patent won’t be filed until the client signs off on the application, we have every incentive to provide the best work product possible. Without the fear of spiraling costs, the client has every reason to help us do just that.