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Companies doing business in the United States can protect most types of intellectual property through registration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) or the U.S. Copyright Office. But, there is one major exception: Trade secrets are not eligible for registration. Instead, companies must protect their trade secrets through other means, as Alabama intellectual property lawyer Hunter Adams explains below.


Plant Patents 101

Mon Feb 7th, 2022 by  Patents

Should you apply for a plant patent? While plant patents can be immensely valuable, they are not well-understood. Many inventors who are eligible for plant patents fail to file, and many people who believe they are eligible for plant patents do not meet the requirements for registration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). In this article, Alabama patent attorney Hunter Adams provides an overview of what entrepreneurs and companies need to know about plant patents.


A trade secret is any information that derives value by virtue of it being unknown, including recipes, product plans, and customer lists, among many others. Trade secrets can be extremely valuable for companies that hold them. A particularly famous example is the recipe for Coca-Cola, which for many years was kept in a locked vault in Atlanta. On the other hand, loss of trade secret protection can be financially devastating, potentially even driving a company out of business. But not all losses of trade secrets are legally actionable; some, such as those that occur as a result of reverse engineering, are generally legal, as an Alabama IP litigation lawyer explains. 


The process of obtaining a patent can be expensive and time-consuming. Estimates vary, but the cost to obtain a patent on even a relatively simple invention can run about $8,000 and takes an average of about two years. Those are significant amounts of time and money, especially for small businesses, but the benefits of patent protection can quickly pay off. Patents are property rights at heart and, just like with real estate, there are many ways for patent owners to monetize their patents. An Alabama patent attorney can help you devise a strategy that works best for your company. 


Laws and social attitudes regarding cannabis have changed dramatically in recent years. Medical and/or recreational cannabis use is now legal in some form in the vast majority of states (including medical use in Alabama). The cannabis industry also received a boost under the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized cannabis and cannabis-derived products containing 0.3% or less THC (known as “hemp”). With an estimated market value of $14.9 billion in 2021, entrepreneurs in the legal cannabis industry are eagerly seeking IP protection for their products. But is such protection even possible? It’s complicated, as an Alabama intellectual property lawyer explains below.