What does “Patent Pending” mean?
Patent Pending means that an application for patent protection has been filed. You can file a provisional (less cost) or non-provisional application and get your invention patent pending status. When you file an application for a utility, design, or plant patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) they will issue you a patent application number and send you a filing receipt. The filing receipt is essentially proof that the application is patent pending. If you are first to file, and everything is filed correctly and prosecuted promptly, you may be granted a patent.
Patent pending does not mean that the actual invention or product will be granted (allowed and issued) patent protection. While it is pending, it is common with many patent applications that the patent office requires the inventor make amendments and/or modifications to claims during patent prosecution. It also happens that there is a need to submit a new application because new matter needs to be added to support the claims. And, of course, there is also the possibility that the application will be denied patent rights. Patent pending means you applied for patent protection, not that you have it.
When can you put “Patent Pending” on your invention or product?
Once you have your filing receipt for your invention, you can label your product “Patent Pending” if you like. The phrase “Patent Applied for” is also used for this purpose. You do not have to mark your invention or product, but it would serve to put the public (and competitors) on notice that you have filed for and are seeking patent protection.
How do you get “Patent Pending” for your invention?
You really only need to file an application for a patent to get Patent Pending status for your invention. This can be done with a Provisional Patent Application or a Non-Provisional Application. A provisional patent application allows you to file an application without a formal patent claim, oath or declaration, or any information disclosure (prior art) statement. Non-Provisional Applications are the complete US or International Utility, Plant, or Design Patent Applications.
What is the difference between Provisional and Non-Provisional Applications?
Both kinds, provisional and non-provisional applications, require the specification, and drawings if needed. But only the non-provisional requires claims. The result is that provisional patent applications usually cost less to write and file compared to the non-provisional version.
Provisional applications are not examined and therefore do not require claims. The provisional application is only pending for one year. It is essentially a place holder for a later non-provisional application. To claim priority to the earlier provisional, the later application must be filed within one year of the provisional filing date.
The specification and drawings must be complete with either a provisional or non-provisional application. A later non-provisional application cannot make claims that are not supported in the provisional application. Also, a later non-provisional cannot add new matter and maintain a priority claim to the provisional application’s filing date.
Provisional patent applications for your invention may or may not be lower cost. There are reasons for filing a provisional application. And, there are reasons to skip filing the provisional and go straight to the full non-provisional. How much it costs to get a patent depends on several factors. Contact us to discuss options and choices for your invention.
How does “Patent Pending” become a Patent?
If you are first to file, you receive a notice of allowance, and pay the issue fee you convert your patent pending status to an issued (granted) patent when you pay the issue fee. Once the issue fee is paid, the patent will issue – be granted. Patent Protection is based on the claims of the patent and can be very valuable.
What does patent protection mean?
In short, patent protection means that you have been granted the right to control the making, using, and selling of your invention for the duration of the patent. Utility patents are valid for 20 years. Design patents are valid for 17 years.
This protection is limited to the country where the patent is issued
Patent protection is limited to the country where the patent was issued. US patents protect the right to control the making, using, and selling in the United States. To seek patent protection in other countries, the International patent applications are used.
For countries outside the US, the International Patent Applications are used
There are two kinds of International Patent Applications. For Utility Patents and Plant Patents, there is the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) Application. For Design Patents, there is The Hague (International Industrial Design) Application.
PCT International Patent Applications
Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applications are filed with the USPTO but are managed by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). PCT applications are used to seek patent protection for an invention simultaneously in a large number of countries by filing a single “international” patent application instead of filing several separate national or regional patent applications.
Patents can be sought and obtained in any of the more than 150 contracting states (countries or regions of the world) participating with the WIPO based on this single application. The granting of patents remains under the control of the national or regional patent offices in what is called the “national phase.”
The national phase is the part of the international process wherein patents for particular countries or regions are filed in those countries or regions where protection is sought. National Stage Processing and entry of an application for patent is done individually in each country or region where protection is sought.
Hague (International Industrial Design) Applications
The Hague Applications are International Industrial Design Patent Applications. Like the PCT Applications, patent applications under Hague are managed at the WIPO.
The Hague Agreement is an international registration system which offers the possibility of obtaining protection for up to 100 industrial designs in designated member countries and intergovernmental organizations (referred to as “Contracting Parties”) by filing a single international application in a single language either directly with the International Bureau of the WIPO or indirectly through the office of applicant’s Contracting Party (country).