Patent Process

What Does ‘Patent Pending’ Mean

By May 6, 2020

An Explanation of the Risks and Advantages

Patent Pending explained: Taking the risk may be to your advantage

You’ve probably noticed 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.

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Rich Goldstein:
You’re probably wondering what it means to be patent pending. So let me explain a little bit, it’s important to understand that until you have an actual issue in the United States patent, that is a patent that’s been examined by the United States patent office approved and issued. You can’t go ahead and stop anyone from making, using, or selling the same idea as yours. So there is a risk in that until you have a patent fully issued at the same time, though, the filing of your application, the filing date of your application establishes your priority toward getting the patent. And you probably notice a lot of products out there that are marked patent pending, which means that the entities, the companies that put those products out there made the judgment that it’s fairly safe at this point, or at the point at which the patent had been filed to go out there and start manufacturing, producing, um, selling their idea, having priority in this manner is what made most of those companies out there that have products that are marked patent pending, feel safe enough to reveal them and to release them. Not much is going to happen unless you go out there and do something with your idea.