The term “patent pending” is often used on certain products by inventors that have begun the application process in regards to securing patent protection and have submitted the application for review to the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
The granting of a patent by the USPTO is known to be quite a lengthy procedure, often times taking up to three years to issue the patent. During such time, the owners of the invention or the patent holders will often affix the words “patent pending” on their invention or product in order to give notice to others that the patent application process is underway.
Conditions to Use Patenting Pending
In the United States, there are certain requirements imposed by applicable patent laws in regards to the correct usage of “patent pending” notices on inventions or products. The most important requirement would prove to be obvious, which is to formally have an actual patent application filed with the USPTO.
The type of application in regards to the patent may not matter for the use of the patent pending notice, though it is normally associated with the provisional patent application. The provisional patent application will not commence the formal investigation process until after a year from the date of the application.
Furthermore, no claims are necessary to be included in the application. This allows for the inventor to make the proper adjustments to the invention in order to be within the constraints of patentability.
In the case that the patent pending statement is used on an invention or product, it is conditional upon having to file for a standard, non-provisional patent within 12 months from the date the application was filed.
In order to legally use the patent pending mark, the application for registration must have already been started and can only be affixed by the creator or owner of the invention. The patent pending mark is to be temporarily used until a formal and official patent number is given upon granting patent rights.
Using the patent pending mark on a product or invention that has not undergone the necessary application procedures is considered to be a federal crime in accordance to United States patent laws and statutes. Violating such imposed regulations can result in heavy fines and possibly even imprisonment.
Extent of Protection with Patent Pending
It is crucial for inventors and potential patent holders to be aware of the fact that a patent pending notice does not offer the same protection as a patent that is appropriately registered. A patent pending mark does not exclude others from making and selling similar inventions or products. However, it does give notice that the particular invention or product may become the sole and exclusive property of the patent owner within a matter of time.
Patent pending does not guarantee that the actual invention or product will be granted patent protection. It is not uncommon for many inventions to be denied patent rights or require that the inventor make amendments and modifications are re-submit an application for approval.