Our Birmingham IP Litigation Law Firm Handles a Variety of Intellectual Property Matters
IP litigation can be a costly, protracted affair, no matter which side of the dispute you are on. For example, if you are the IP owner, you must gather enough evidence to prove that the alleged infringer actually infringed your IP — evidence that can be difficult to come across. On the other hand, if you are the alleged infringer, you must advance complex arguments as to why your actions did not constitute infringement or why the IP right being asserted against you is invalid — otherwise, you could face millions of dollars in damages.
IP law is complex, requiring a high degree of specialization and experience. Success in IP litigation requires an attorney who understands both the technology and the law involved. A Birmingham intellectual property attorney can handle all aspects of the IP litigation process, including:
- Conducting pre-suit investigations
- Identifying the appropriate forum for the litigation
- Identifying the correct plaintiffs and defendants
- Drafting and filing complaints and pre-trial motions
- Handling discovery requests and depositions
- Claim construction and Markman hearings (in patent cases)
- Preparing witnesses
- Calculating damages
- Motion practice, including motions for summary judgment based on invalidity and infringement/non-infringement
- Trial practice, including jury selection and instructions
- Handling arbitration and mediation proceedings
Our attorneys have extensive experience representing both IP owners and alleged infringers in a wide variety of IP disputes involving patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. We have also practiced before many tribunals that hear IP disputes, including U.S. district courts, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), and the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB).
The Six Stages of IP Protection Offered by a Birmingham Intellectual Property Attorney at AdamsIP, LLC
At AdamsIP, your Birmingham intellectual property protection lawyer will take a systematic approach to all aspects of helping your business secure, monetize and preserve your exclusive IP rights. In doing so, we focus on all six major stages of IP protection:
Prior to adopting a new trademark or claiming a novel technology as your own, it is necessary to conduct clearance research. The steps involved depend on the type of IP at issue; but, in all cases, the focus needs to be on ensuring that you, your company, or your institution has the standing to claim exclusivity.
Trademarks, copyrights, and patents all can – and should – be registered at the federal level. Registration affords the maximum protection available, and in some cases, it can provide access to important additional remedies and other benefits as well. Your Birmingham intellectual property attorney will file a trademark, copyright, and patent registrations on behalf of your business in the U.S. and abroad.
After filing an initial trademark or patent registration application, it is necessary to continue to shepherd the application through the USPTO’s registration process. Frequently, it will be necessary to submit additional information and/or overcome issues raised by the USPTO’s examiner or a third-party challenger. We handle all aspects of the registration process on behalf of our clients, and we have deep experience resolving all types of registration-related issues.
When seeking to monetize IP assets, it is critical to ensure that all necessary legal protections are in place. We provide drafting, negotiation, and advisory services for licensing, sale and other IP transactions, and we assist our clients with marketing and other issues as well.
Preserving IP rights requires ongoing monitoring. If a third party is using your company’s or institution’s trademark, copyright, patent, or trade secret without authorization, you need to know about it—and you need to take appropriate responsive action as soon as possible.
As an IP owner, you must be prepared to enforce your exclusive rights when necessary. At AdamsIP, a skilled Birmingham intellectual property protection lawyer will represent you in all types of IP enforcement matters, from infringement and counterfeiting litigation to third-party attempts to cancel our clients’ USPTO registrations.
What Types of IP Protection Are Available?
IP protection comes in four primary forms: patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. Patents protect technological inventions, including machines, processes, manufacturers, compositions of matter, and any improvements to existing inventions. Trademarks protect the words, logos, sounds, and slogans that identify brands and distinguish them from other brands on the market. Copyrights protect artistic works such as books, artwork, songs, scripts, and films. Trade secrets protect proprietary information that derives economic value primarily by being unknown by others, including recipes, source code, product plans, and customer lists.
What Kinds of Things Can I Patent?
Patent protection is available for “any new process, machine, manufacture, the composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof.” These are very broad categories that include almost all things that one would commonly consider to be “inventions.” This can include tools, industrial processes, chemical compounds, methods of treatment, and computer software, among others. A few categories of inventions are not eligible for patent protection, however. For example, inventions that involve laws of nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas generally are excluded from patentability. These exceptions often come up when patenting computer software, business methods, and life sciences-related inventions.
What Is IP Infringement?
IP infringement generally refers to a situation where a person uses someone else’s IP without the IP owner’s permission. This can occur differently in different contexts. For example, patent infringement could happen where a person makes, uses, or sells something that someone else has patented or uses someone else’s patented product as a component of a larger product. Trademark infringement could occur when someone develops and uses a logo similar to someone else’s trademarked logo as to be virtually indistinguishable from it. Copyright infringement could occur when a musician performs someone else’s copyrighted song in a public setting.
How Can I Avoid IP Infringement?
There are several ways to avoid IP infringement. For example, to avoid patent infringement, you could hire a Birmingham intellectual property lawyer to conduct a freedom-to-operate analysis before you begin selling a product that could identify any third-party patents out there about which you may be unaware. Before designing a logo or slogan for your brand, you could also consult with an attorney to conduct a trademark search to ensure that the logo or slogan you choose is not already being used by someone else. Of course, if you absolutely must use someone else’s IP, the owner may be willing to grant you a license.
How Do I Obtain Protection for My IP Assets?
Obtaining IP protection varies according to the type of IP asset. You may get IP protection for patents by filing a patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). A patent examiner at the USPTO will then evaluate your application and, if it complies with statutory patentability requirements, issue you a patent. Trademark protection arises through use — that is, you have rights in your mark by using it in connection with your goods or services in commerce. However, you may obtain extra protection by registering your trademark with the USPTO. Copyright protection arises automatically; once you create an original work of authorship, you own its copyright automatically. However, like with trademarks, you may also register your copyright with the United States Copyright Office. Trade secrets also arise automatically. Any information that derives economic value by being unknown by others and for which you have taken reasonable measures to ensure remains unknown can be considered a trade secret.
How Long Does IP Protection Last?
Again, the term IP protection varies by the type of IP involved. Generally, patents last for a period of 20 years from the date of initial application — not the date the patent is granted. Patents are not renewable. Trademarks remain in force as long as they are being used in commerce — so potentially forever — but federal trademark registration must be renewed every 10 years. The length of time a copyright remains in force depends on many factors, including whether the work has been published and when it was published, but generally, it is valid for the term of the author’s life plus an additional 70 years. Trade secrets, like trademarks, may potentially last forever as long as the information remains unknown by others.
Schedule a Free Initial Consultation with a Highly Qualified Birmingham Intellectual Property Attorney at AdamsIP
At AdamsIP, we are passionate about helping our clients protect and get the most out of their IP assets. If you would like to learn more about what we do, we encourage you to get in touch. To schedule a free and confidential consultation at your convenience, please call 251-289-9787 or contact us online today.
505 20th St N Suite 1215
Birmingham, AL 35203