Ganter Law is focused on assisting and helping inventors obtain the broadest U.S. patent protection on their inventions. Ganter Law offers full patent prosecution services including: patent counseling, patent searching, patent application drafting, responses to USPTO office actions, requests for continued examination and issuance and post-issuance matters among other services. Ganter Law is committed to giving each inventor an honest assessment of the likelihood of obtaining patent protection and will as quickly give an inventor encouragement to proceed with patent protection as they will advise a client of the risks and likelihood of not succeeding.


Prior art is any patent, patent application, publication, trade journal, public discussions or public use thereof of any technology that is germane and relevant to an inventor’s proposed invention wherever in the world it is found.  Prior art is the primary tool that a USPTO examiner will use to reject an inventor’s patent application.  USPTO rejections based on prior art are predominately due to the failure to meet two conditions for patentability:  1) novelty, and/or 2) obviousness.

Because of this, it is very important for an inventor to have a prior art search performed before filing a patent application with the United States Patent & Trademark Office.  Some reasons in favor of having a prior art search performed are as follows:

  • Money – A patent search along with an attorney’s opinion on the search will give an inventor the information they need to make a wise decision about investing in the patent process;
  • It informs the inventor of the related technology in the field of the invention and can assist the attorney in writing around prior art – if you do not know what is out there, then you do not have the opportunity to adjust your patent strategy;
  • It informs the inventor of the competition; and
  • It informs the inventor for purposes of avoiding any potential infringement.

At Ganter Law, we can tailor a search to meet the inventor’s needs.   We offer “economy” searches as well as complete searches that cover the United States as well as foreign countries.  Once the search is performed, we will then issue the inventor a patentability opinion which analyzes and discusses the likelihood and feasibility of patentability.  It is upon this opinion that the inventor will decide to move forward with filing a patent application.


Ganter Law will prepare your patent application complete with the required specification, claims and relevant drawings that fully disclose the invention. The application will then be filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. For more specific information regarding the particular types of patent applications, please see the section below discussing Patent Applications.


Ganter Law offers counseling and litigation services to potential patentees and patent owners alike. We offer pre-litigation counseling, freedom to operate opinions, licensing and licensing dispute representation, and patent infringement litigation.


A patent is a form of intellectual property granted by the U.S. government that conveys to the creator of an invention certain rights.    Confusingly, many believe that a patent is a right to make, use, sell or import an invention.  However, a patent actually grants the patentee the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention throughout the United States or importing the invention into the United States.  It is this right of exclusion which gives the patentee power over any would-be infringers,

There are three types of patents that the United States recognizes by law: utility patents, design patents and plant patents.  Utility and design patents are by far the most popular, with utility patents being the most publicly recognized.

  • Utility patents are defined as any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof.
  • Design patents are defined as any new, original and ornamental design for an article of manufacture.
  • Plant patents are defined as the invention or discovery and assexually reproduction of any distinct and new variety of plant, including cultivated sports, mutants, hybrids, and newly found seedlings.

Types of Patent Applications

Utility Patent Applications

There are two types of utility patent applications available to an inventor.  However, only one of the two types of patent applications will be examined by the United States Patent & Trademark Office

Provisional Patent Application

A provisional patent application is an informal patent application that affords the inventor a filing date and one year in which to refine the invention and test their invention in the marketplace.    Provisional Patent Applications are often referred to as place-holder patent applications because they give the inventor priority over any other entity that might try to patent the same invention after they file.  However, a provisional patent application will never be examined by the United States Patent and Trademark Office unless a non-provisional patent application is filed within a year claiming priority back to the provisional patent application.  Provisional patent applications can provide an inventor more flexibility with their invention strategies.  Please contact Ganter Law to discuss whether this is an option for you or your company.

Non-Provisional Application

Despite the name, a non-provisional patent application is the formal patent application that will be examined by the United States Patent & Trademark Office.  It contains all the elements required by the United States Patent & Trademark Office and may also claim to a formerly filed provisional application given that it is filed within a year from the filing date of the provisional application.


Christopher R. Ganter, LLC
2737 Highland Avenue South
Birmingham, Alabama 35205
(205) 266-0279


The United States Patent and Trademark Office is an agency of the Department of Commerce.

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No representation is made that the quality of legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other attorneys.