Patent Law in Alabama

Alabama residents should be aware that creating a new invention or design is not enough to commercialize it. You must protect your work with a patent. If you don’t, you could open yourself up to the possibility of someone stealing your work. They might even file a patent of their own to claim royalties that should rightfully be yours.

What Is a Patent?

Patent law covers the many aspects of securing a patent. There are many legalities to understand, from copyrighting products and advertising, to the Lanham Act. Basically, a patent is a legal protection you secure through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, (USPTO), under intellectual property laws. A patent guarantees the exclusive right to use your intellectual property. It also helps enforce that no other person can make or profit from something for which you hold the patent.

The United States Patent and Trademark Offices located in Alabama allows residents access to unique resources. These include entrepreneurial workshops, trademark assistance, and the ability to network with other inventors. You can also make use of the public resource center located in the Birmingham Public Library.

What Are the Types of Patents?

There are three different types of patents inventors can apply for. Each patent has specific stipulations and serves a different purpose.

  • Utility Patent – This is the most common type of patent. It is for new machines, processes/functions, and chemicals.
  • Design Patent – These patents are for securing a unique and new design of a manufactured item. Design patents protect from entities trying to capitalize on an invention by replicating and producing it.
  • Plant Patent – These types of patents are specifically for the invention of new plant varieties. The process must include asexual reproduction, meaning by means other than seeds.

What Can You Patent?

In reality, not everything you create qualifies for patenting. There are only certain types of intellectual property that fall under patent protection. Other intellectual property rights cover different creations. Here is a look at the types of inventions you can patent:

  • Process – Also referred to as a method, this is a new way of doing something. 
  • Machine – This is any material thing or device that has some sort of output, whether functionality or physical object.
  • Manufacture – This is the creation of a physical object.
  • Composition of matter – This is a mixture of chemical or biological compounds to create something new.

You can apply for a patent for whichever new device, method, or compound you create by applying to the USPTO. Once they accept your patent application and approve it, you have exclusivity rights to the invention for the next 20 years. However, a design patent period lasts for 14 years.

Difference Between a Provisional and Non-Provisional Patent

Alabama inventors often file a provisional patent first, which is a way of buying time to finalize an invention. Provisional patents last for a year, and the application process is simple. Once you file a provisional patent, you have a year to convert it to a non-provisional patent. The latter is just another name for the formal and final patent.

How to Apply for a Patent in Alabama

The process of applying for a patent in Alabama is complex and detailed. You must meet all the requirements and submit every required piece of documentation to secure your patent. You must file your application with the USPTO.

The Alabama Secretary of State encourages all inventors and entrepreneurs to establish patents and trademarks to protect their intellectual property. You should always take the proper steps and precautions to guard against someone trying to take your property. To establish a patent you should:

  • Keep a written record of your invention
  • Document your process with video footage, if possible
  • Research to be certain your invention qualifies for a patent
  • Research to be certain your invention is new
  • File your patent with the USPTO

However, it may be in your best interest to seek out an experienced patent attorney in Alabama to help you file a patent application.

When Should I Hire an Experienced Alabama Patent Lawyer?

There are multiple reasons to hire a patent attorney. If you want the assurance of having someone acting on your behalf, then  Alabama patent law lawyers can help you. They can assist with every step of the filing process and ensure that you include all the required information. Additionally, they may be able to guide you when it comes to navigating consumer laws, as well as help you avoid false advertising. This can prove especially valuable if you are trying to merge, or transform your invention into a business.

Ozark Alabama suggests consulting with a flat-fee patent attorney before filing for your patent. This way they can be fully immersed in the concept of your invention before ever moving forward. Your Alabama patent lawyer will find this especially beneficial if someone is trying to infringe upon your intellectual property.

Filing for a simple patent usually costs somewhere between $5,000 and $16,000. Although the cost may be even higher for a technological patent. Your Alabama patent attorney will be able to best guide you toward the patent your invention requires.

Work with an Experienced Local Patent Attorney in Alabama

A patent lawyer provides a great service in assisting with securing and managing your patent. You should meet with an attorney to discuss how he or she can help you. We can even help you connect with an attorney across Alabama state lines.

Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an attorney in your area!

How It All Works

Call us or answer the questions on this site. Your category, location, and additional information will help us connect you to a legal professional and we’ll send you the results instantly.

Which Areas of Law?

We have attorneys in over 20 legal categories to choose from.

How Much Does This Cost?

We don’t charge you to be connected. Some legal categories require upfront fees while others do not. The legal professional will determine this with you before you commit to anything.