Focus on Patents, Inc. has at least one registered Patent Agent on staff to prepare Utility and Design patent applications from available inventor records after conducting a review of the publicly known art. The utility application requires a complete enabling disclosure of the idea such that one skilled in the same art may practice the invention at the expiration of the term. Since 1995, utility patents may now be maintained in force for 20 years from the filing date of an original parent application but are thereafter dedicated to the public as intended by our forefathers. Design patents applications primarily consist of line drawings of the various views of the object to be protected. Design patents have a fixed term of 14 years from the date of issue
As the United States Patent and Trademark Office recognizes Registered Agents and Attorneys as equal practitioners, the preparation of the enabling disclosure depends heavily upon the understanding of the invention. With 35 years experience in industry and more than 20 years of invention practice, the agent(s) at Focus on Patents, Inc., have the experience to properly describe and claim inventions in various arts. As the claims of an utility application form the legally binding part of each patent application, Focus on Patents, Inc., first presents the broadest claim thought to be allowable with dependent claims narrowing the scope of the invention. Usually, independent product, method and apparatus claims are presented to fully describe the invention.
An important part of an enabling disclosure are the drawings which pictorally show an invention, Focus on Patents, Inc., procures drawings for inventions by calling upon the experience of skilled draftspersons to provide the necessary drawings for utility and design patent applications. Drawings can be prepared from models, engineering drawings, sketches or, where necessary, merely from a written description. We can also make a sketch at our initial meeting based upon your description. That sketch forms the basis for the formal drawings needed for the filing of the application.
Focus on Patents, Inc., now operates on an hourly fee rate and therefore charges fees to prosecute utility applications before the USPTO. Prosecution is the process of moving the application to issuance through the USPTO. Nearly every application requires dialogue with an examiner in the USPTO and therefore Focus on Patents, Inc., responds to all these office actions, usually after consultation with the inventor. Some office actions are procedural in nature and therefore can be handled without further consultation. Upon filing each response, Focus on Patents, Inc., provides a complete copy of the USPTO office action and response to inventors for inclusion in their formal records. Some office actions include minor revisions to the formal drawings. Focus on Patents, Inc., procures these drawing changes without further charge to the inventor. However, if new drawings are required by the Examiner, Focus must invoice the inventor for these new drawings.
Some USPTO office actions include additional prior art references found by the examiner which are germane to the invention. These newly cited art references are reviewed with inventor and in the response to the official action, Focus on Patents, Inc., tries its best to distinguish over these references. In most cases, the art cited by the examiner is merely cumulative to art found by Focus.
Focus on Patents, Inc., maintains a record of each invention and tracks each application, office action and issued patent such that all actions are answered in the alloted time frame provided the inventor responds in a timely manner and pays invoices issued by FOCUS. Usually, the pending issuance of an allowed application has been thoroughly discussed with the inventor prior to the notice of allowance and therefore, Focus bills the issue fee to the inventor upon receipt of the notice of allowance. Focus pays issue fees immediately after receipt of payment from the inventor to ensure the earliest publication of the patent. Focus does not charge for the payment of the issue fee, thus Focus bills only for the issue fee.
Since the early 1980s, the USPTO has required the payment of maintenance fees to keep issued patents in force beyond 3 ½ , 7 ½ and 11 ½ years. An escalating fee schedule is applied at each of these post-issuance dates. Focus on Patents, Inc., notifies the inventor in advance when maintenance fees are due by presenting an invoice for the appropriate maintenance fee plus a charge by Focus, and, after consultation with the inventor and receipt of payment, Focus files client maintenance fee payments. Of course, if the inventor no longer wishes to maintain a patent in force, the patent expires upon failure to pay any one of these maintenance fees.