What is Patent Pending?

“Patent Pending” is an expression that basically means that that patent has been applied for, which, for all intents and purposes, should be enough to ward off potential infringement. The term “Patent Pending” is authorized to be used prior to the patent being issued; however, it is only allowed after the patent application has officially been filed.

Typically, the “Patent Pending” phrase is seen on manufactured everyday goods that inform people that the inventor has filed a patent application and is waiting to see if it has been granted. Once the patent has been approved, the phrase itself will be removed and the actual patent number will be referenced.

Infringement of your Patent

Any individuals infringing on a product that is “Patent Pending” are liable for damages. These damages include back paid loyalties, goods seized and injunctions on the approval of your patent. For this reason, people generally do not copy patents as there is much at stake.

Misuse of “Patent Pending”

By law, you are not legally allowed or authorized to add or refer to your products as having a “Patent Pending” without an application filed. In this case, not even the intent to file the application is enough to authorize use of the phrase. If you do use “Patent Pending” and there is not an actual patent that is pending, large fines could be incurred if you are found to be fraudulent. Inventors should always know the laws surrounding the process as well as have transparent intentions on their patents in order to avoid any acts of fraud.

Variations of “Patent Pending” in Different Countries

Again, you need to research the “Patent Pending” phrase with regards to the country in which you currently have residence. For example, in Australia, the term “Patent Pending” refers to an invention that has had a patent application filed but has not necessarily been granted. In contrast, in the United States, the term “Patent Pending” is only authorized for use once the application has been approved and the patent issues have been granted.

In some countries such as the United States, a warning notice should be placed on your product in addition to the patent application number. Again, inventors must be aware that under interpretation of the “offense” of placing a “Patent Pending” on your product when you actually do not have one, could result in damages for each marked article containing the phrase. This offense could result in excessive financial damages of hundreds of millions of dollars for high volume production of consumer goods.

It is, therefore, good practice to know the implications of “Patent Pending” as well as the laws of your country of residence. Inventors should be knowledgeable of the patent process to include such phrasing and laws. Any inventor who blindly places the “Patent Pending” label on his or her product could, as a result, suffer great penalties and loss from its misuse.

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