Patent Pending

Lia Kopin-Green
October 18, 2022

What is Patent Pending?

In legal terms, the phrase “patent pending” means that the inventor of an invention or creation has begun the process of applying for the exclusive rights to use, sell or license the product. In other words, it means that the inventor of the product has submitted a provisional patent application to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Another way to understand patent pending is the idea that using the statements means you have an actual filing date for your patent application. The phrase is often found marked on the product. 

It should be noted that the term “patent pending” does not have any actual legal significance. Instead, it simply informs competitors and the rest of the general public that a patent application has been filed. 

Key Takeaways

  • Patent pending means that the inventor of an invention or creation has begun the process of applying for the exclusive rights to use, sell or license the product.
  • The phrase is often marked on the actual product.
  • The term “patent pending” is not legally binding. It simply means that a patent application has been submitted to the USPTO and the applicant has a filing date.

Understanding Patent Pending

Remember: in the United States, the patent system operates on a first-to-file basis. Simply put, priority over patent rights goes to the first person to file for the patent. If more than one person applies for a patent for the same product, the applicant who filed first will be granted patent ownership rights. As a result, the patent owner may be able to collect damages and claim royalties following patent infringement.

Essentially, patent pending is used to warn competitors that the inventor of the product has already filed a patent. Protection for the product will be backdated to the day that the provisional patent application was filed. Moreover, while an inventor may not be able to prevent infringement while a product is in its patent-pending stage, he or she can take full legal action once the patent is approved.

While patent pending may not hold any significant legal weight, the USPTO still requires that the term be used in good faith. Failure to comply with this law can lead to false marketing fines of up to $500. 

Patent Pending Placement

Inventors often feature the phrase “patent pending” on the product itself. If the product is prone to wear, patent pending may be printed onto marketing materials such as advertisements as well as product packaging. Variations or abbreviations may be used as well, such as “Pat. Pend.” Although this is not a requirement, inventors may also list the provisional patent application number alongside the “patent pending” phrase.

Bottom Line

It's possible you've seen "patent pending" on various products throughout your everyday life without really knowing what it means. Nonetheless, if you’ve decided to start applying for a patent, it is crucial to become familiar with all of the key terms related to the process. Reach out to one of our expert intellectual property attorneys today for assistance with patents.

Featured Intellectual Property Lawyers

Reid and Riege, P.C.

Google rating
34 years in practice
Bankruptcy, Employment Law, Intellectual Property, Trust & Estate
View Profile

Seth H. Salinger, Attorney At Law

Google rating
33 years in practice
Employment Law, Intellectual Property, Personal Injury
View Profile

The Law Office of Amy Ghosh, APC

Google rating
24 years in practice
Bankruptcy, Business Law, Divorce & Family Law, Immigration Appeals, Immigration Law
View Profile

Theory Law APC

Google rating
10 years in practice
Auto Accidents, Employment Law, Personal Injury
View Profile

Lake Tapps Legal

10 years in practice
Criminal Defense
View Profile

D Michael Mullori Jr Attorney At Law

Google rating
23 years in practice
Auto Accidents, Personal Injury, Premises Liability
View Profile

Related Posts

Actual Filing Date
Lia Kopin-GreenAugust 4, 2022
Design Patent
Lia Kopin-GreenAugust 24, 2022
Double Patenting
Lia Kopin-GreenSeptember 1, 2022
Trademark Application Number
Lia Kopin-GreenNovember 3, 2022
Attorney At Law is changing how clients connect with lawyers. By providing an innovative platform to lawyers who want to expand their practice’s reach, AAL is bringing law practices into the future.
6142 Innovation Way
Carlsbad, California 92009
Some of the content of this website may be considered attorney advertising under the rules of certain jurisdictions. The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.
crossmenuchevron-upchevron-down linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram