Frequently Asked Questions

We have become the “go-to” intellectual property law firm for general practice law firms, businesses, and clients across the United States.  In this role we often receive similar questions.  We prepared this FAQ section to help address your questions about patents, trademarks, and IP law generally.  We also provide answers to questions we often receive regarding AdamsIP specifically.

While we have tried to cover many of the most common questions, you may not find exactly what you are looking for. If you have suggestions for topics for our FAQ page or would like to set up a time to speak with an intellectual property attorney, please contact us directly.

Patent FAQs

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 nonprovisional 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.

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.
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
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:  $3,000 – $4,000
  • Nonprovisional patent application: $7,000 – $10,000
  • 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.  Please contact us today.

Trademark FAQs

 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.

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. 
A 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!
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 ™.

Other IP FAQs

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.
Poor man’s copyright” is a method of using registered dating by the postal service, a notary public or other highly trusted source to date intellectual property, thereby helping to establish that the material has been in one’s possession since a particular time. The concept is based on the notion that, in the event that such intellectual property were to be misused by a third party, the poor-man’s copyright would at least establish a legally recognized date of possession before any proof which a third party may possess.

The poor-man’s copyright was originally used by authors who sent copies of their own work to themselves through the mail without opening the envelopes in the hope that it would grant them legal protection by establishing a date at which the work was created. Use of this method may not hold up in a court as it is simple for individuals to pre-send envelopes which can then be used later by placing the materials inside.

The term of copyright for a particular work depends on several factors, including whether it has been published, and, if so, the date of first publication. As a general rule, for works created after January 1, 1978, copyright protection lasts for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years. For an anonymous work, a pseudonymous work, or a work made for hire, the copyright endures for a term of 95 years from the year of its first publication or a term of 120 years from the year of its creation, whichever expires first. For works first published prior to 1978, the term will vary depending on several factors.
Broadly speaking, any confidential business information which provides an enterprise a competitive edge may be considered a trade secret. Trade secrets encompass manufacturing or industrial secrets and commercial secrets. The unauthorized use of such information by persons other than the holder is regarded as an unfair practice and a violation of the trade secret. Depending on the legal system, the protection of trade secrets forms part of the general concept of protection against unfair competition or is based on specific provisions or case law on the protection of confidential information.

The subject matter of trade secrets is usually defined in broad terms and includes sales methods, distribution methods, consumer profiles, advertising strategies, lists of suppliers and clients, and manufacturing processes. While a final determination of what information constitutes a trade secret will depend on the circumstances of each individual case, clearly unfair practices in respect of secret information include industrial or commercial espionage, breach of contract and breach of confidence.