Patent Pending Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Patent Pending, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Patent Pending?

Imprinting of the abbreviation “Pat Pend” or “Pat Pending” on the product indicates to the others that the product has been applied for obtaining patent from the government , though not yet granted, and thereby warning those who copy products that damages would be claimed once the patent is granted. For illegal use of such prints can lead to heavy penalties in US.

History and Meaning of Patent Pending

The term "patent pending" is used to indicate that a patent application has been filed with a government agency but has not yet been granted. Once a patent application is filed, the inventor can use "patent pending" on the product, packaging, or advertising to inform others that a patent for the invention is being sought.

The purpose of using "patent pending" is twofold. First, it warns potential competitors that the inventor is seeking patent protection for the invention and that copying the invention may lead to legal action once the patent is granted. Second, it puts others on notice that the invention is potentially valuable and may be worth licensing or purchasing.

Examples of Patent Pending

  1. A manufacturer creates a new type of widget and submits a patent application for the invention. While waiting for the patent to be granted, the manufacturer labels its products with "patent pending" to discourage competitors from copying the invention.
  2. An inventor develops a unique software program and files a patent application with the USPTO. The inventor then uses "patent pending" in advertising the software to alert potential investors or buyers that the software's patent is pending but not yet granted.
  3. A small business owner creates and markets a new tool that they believe is unique in its design. Before the patent is granted, the business owner makes sure to include "patent pending" on the product itself as well as in all their marketing and advertising efforts.

Legal Terms Similar to Patent Pending

  1. Trademark: A word, phrase, symbol, or design used to distinguish a company's products or services from those of others in the marketplace.
  2. Copyright: A legal right granted to the creator of an original work, such as a book, movie script, or computer program, to protect their intellectual property from unauthorized use or reproduction.
  3. Trade secret: Confidential, non-public information that gives a company a competitive advantage over its competitors. It can include processes, formulas, designs, or ideas that are kept secret to maintain their value.