Patent attorney Rich Goldstein explains what ‘patent pending’ status means, and what kind of protection this patent status provides in the marketplace.
Taking the risk may be to your advantage
You’ve probably notice a lot of products out there that are marked ‘Patent Pending.’ This means that the companies that put those products on the market have decided that it’s fairly safe, after the patent application has been filed, to start producing and selling their idea.
When you file your patent application, the filing date of your application establishes your priority toward getting the patent. Having this priority is what made most of those companies feel safe enough to release their products.
It’s important to understand, however, that until you have a granted United States patent—that is, a patent that’s been examined by the United States patent office, approved, and issued—you can’t stop anyone from making, using, or selling the same idea as yours. So there is a certain amount of risk in marketing your idea until you have a patent in hand.
That being said, you know that not much is going to happen with your idea unless you get it out in the marketplace. So selling it while it’s still patent pending may well be to your advantage in the long run.