Patent, Trademark, And Intellectual Property Representation For Businesses And Corporations

What protection does “patent pending” offer?

On Behalf of | Feb 10, 2024 | Intellectual Property

It can take months – or years – to get through the patent application process. Even then, there’s no guarantee that your patent will be granted the first time around, if at all. In the meantime, you probably don’t want to sit on your invention if it seems like the market is ready and ripe for it.

This is where a “patent pending” designation can come in handy.

It’s essentially a warning to would-be intellectual property thieves

Once you have filed a provisional or non-provisional patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), you can use “patent-pending” as a notice on your invention to warn others that the patent application has begun. This may not sound like much, but it’s an important protection.

“Patent pending” can be used as soon as you have filed a patent application to establish your claim to all the rights over your invention. A provisional application does not go through a formal examination process and will not eventually result in a patent, but it does serve as an effective placeholder. Its filing secures your “priority date” for the invention, ahead of any others that might file later, and gives you the time to refine and develop your non-provisional (full) patent application.

During the patent application process, copycats are on notice that you have begun the formal patent process and fully intend to protect your intellectual property rights, but there’s little you can do in court to stop someone who is determined to steal your work. Once a patent has been granted, however, its retroactive nature kicks in and you can sue anyone who may have ignored your warning for damages.

Patents are an exceedingly complicated area of the law, and protecting your company’s intellectual property rights is something that often requires a multi-faceted approach and a nuanced understanding of the patent process and its risks. As such, seeking legal guidance as proactively as possible is generally wise.