A "patent" is a set of exclusive rights granted by a country to a patentee for a fixed period of time in exchange for a public disclosure of an invention. The exclusive rights granted to a patentee in most countries are the rights to prevent or exclude others from making, using, selling, offering to sell or importing the invention. The procedure for granting patents, the requirements placed on the patentee, and the extent of the exclusive rights vary widely between countries according to national laws and international agreements.

The two most common types of patents in the United States are "utility" and "design" patents. Design patents protect the appearance or the "look" of a particular product and utility patents protect the functional aspects. Inventions relating to machines, products, processes, and compositions of matter are considered eligible for patent protection. Internet, computer, and software inventions are also potentially patentable and represent a growing trend in patent application filing. Design patents are effective for 14 years and utility patents for 20 years.

If you have foreign markets for your patented products or want to protect your innovations internationally, then a PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) patent application may be a good choice for you. Filing a PCT application is a cost-effective way of patenting your invention in multiple countries with one patent application. ALG is experienced in prosecuting PCT applications through National Phase of PCT at which time the patent application is handed off to the appropriate ones of our outstanding network of foreign associates to continue prosecution and obtain a foreign patent under ALG supervision. ALG has foreign associates in many foreign jurisdictions including Canada, Europe, China, India, and other countries.