What patent pending means: The term legally means a product or activity has an open patent application on file with the patent office. Filing an application for patent protection makes an invention “Patent Pending.” Either filing a provisional, non-provisional, U.S., or international (PCT & Hague) application results in pending status. After preparing and filing an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), you get a filing receipt. The filing receipt will show the patent application number. Inventors often use the filing receipt or the application number as proof the invention is pending until it is published. 

Pending, however, does not mean that the actual invention or product will be granted patent protection. In other words, pending does not mean a patent will be allowed and issued. It means only that an application for patent was prepared and filed. A patent remains pending until allowed or finally rejected.

Notes: [1] provisional patent applications are not examined, and [2] they are only pending for twelve months. Pending applications are not enforceable. Only issued patents are enforceable. Contact Carson Patents to start the 5 steps to patent for your invention or idea with a utility patent, a plant patent or a design patent application.

When Can You Put “Patent Pending” on Your Invention or Product?

Once you have the filing receipt for your invention, you can label your product if you like. Also, the phrase “Patent Applied for” is acceptable. 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.

What Happens After an Application is Pending?

Pending applications often require further communication with the USPTO & WIPO. While a patent is pending, frequently amendments, new/revised claims, or further explanation is needed. These communications occur during patent application prosecution. Note: new matter may only be added in a new application. If new matter is needed to support claims during prosecution, then an additional application is needed. Thus, incomplete pending applications may require a new application. Carson Patents 5 steps to patent include all patenting services from the initial prior art search through prosecution. Contact us and get your utility or design invention a pending application.

How Do You Get “Patent Pending” for Your Invention?

You really only need to file an application for a patent to be pending for your invention. Either a provisional patent application or a non-provisional application will result in pending status. An invention is patent patenting upon filing any complete patent application that gets a filing receipt. Any U.S. or International (PCTHague), utility, plant, or design application filed for your invention makes it pending.

What is the Difference Between Provisional and Non-Provisional Applications?

The difference between provisonal and non-provisional patent applications is in the claims. Both kinds, provisional and non-provisional applications, require the specification and drawings if needed. But, only the non-provisional requires claims. The provisional is a temporary placeholder for a later non-provisional application.

The specification and drawings must be complete with either a provisional or non-provisional application. It is important to note that a provisional application must support the claims of the later non-provisional application without needing to add new matter. Additionally, a later non-provisional cannot add new matter and maintain a priority claim to the provisional application’s filing date. To add new matter a continuation in part application or a new application is required.

Provisional vs. Non-Provisional Costs

There are reasons for filing the provisional (a.k.a. placeholder) application. And, there are reasons to skip filing the provisional and go straight to filing the non-provisional regular patent application. A provisional application can be less expensive to write and file. A provisional application is less expensive is because there are no claims included. Writing and filing a non-provisional patent application is frequently less expensive overall than starting with a provisional application. How much a patent costs and whether or not to start with filing a provisional or non-provisional patent application depends on several factors.

PPA – Provisional Patent Applications

A PPA is a temporary place holder to get a fling date for an invention that only lasts for a year. A provisional patent application allows you to file an application without formal patent claim(s), oath/declaration, or any information disclosure (prior art) statement. Provisional applications are not examined and therefore do not require claims. Only a utility patent application can be provisional. A design patent application must be non-provisional.

The provisional application is only pending for one year. It is essentially a place holder for a later filed non-provisional application. Within 12 months after the filing of a provisional application, a non-provisional application must be filed. Read more about provisional patent applications.

Regular – Non-Provisional Patent Applications

A non-provisional patent application is a regular patent application. Filing a non-provisional patent application requires the specification and drawings just like the provisional. Importantly, the regular patent application also requires the formal patent claim(s), oath/declaration, and an information disclosure (prior art) statement. 

The regular (non-provisional) patent application requires six things to be complete. The six things needed for filing a non-provisional patent application are the [1] specification, [2] claim(s), [3] drawing(s) (when required), [4] fee, [5] oath, and [6] a translation if not in English.

How Does a Pending Application Become a Patent?

A patent application changes from pending to patent when 3 things happen. The 3 things needed to change from pending to patent are the following: [1] you are first to file, [2] you receive a notice of allowance, and [3] you pay the issue fee. Then pending status becomes a patent. 

This is how a pending application could become a patent for your invention or idea. Carson Patents writes, files, and prosecutes the patent application. The patent office sends an office action with an offer to issue the patent. You pay the issue fee. 

Note: Provisional applications do not have claims and cannot become a patent. Only a non-provisional application can become a patent. Patent Protection is based on the claims of the patent and can be very valuable.

Note: Provisional applications do not have claims and cannot become a patent. Only a non-provisional application can become a patent. Patent Protection is based on the claims of the patent and can be very valuable. 

Carson Patents®

What Does Patent Protection Mean?

Patent protection is 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 from the filing date. Design patents are valid for 15 years from the date of issue. 

Country Specific Protection

Countries issue their own patents. A patent is only enforceable in the country where issued. U.S. patents protect the right to control the making, using, and selling in the United States. The international applications (PCT/Hague) seek patent protection in other countries and the United States. An international patent application (PCT/Hague) has two stages. The international application is the initial stage. The national stage application is the second stage. A separate application is required in each country where patent protection is sought.

International Patent Applications

Carson Patents provides patent services for two kinds of International Patent Applications. The World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) manages the international applications. WIPO is the global forum for intellectual property (IP) services, policy, information and cooperation.

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

PCT International Phase: The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) manages the PCT system. PCT stands for Patent Cooperation Treaty. Filing a PCT application results in pending status simultaneously in all elected countries. A single “international” patent application is done instead of filing separate national or regional patent applications. Filing a complete and proper international PCT application results in pending status in all of the participating countries where protection is sought. 

Patents are sought and obtained in any of the more than 190 contracting states (countries or regions of the world) participating with the WIPO based on a single application. The granting of patents remains under the control of the national or regional patent offices during the “national phase.”

PCT National Phase: The national phase is when you apply for patents in the individual countries where protection is sought. Patents for particular countries or regions are filed in those countries or regions. National phase processing and entry of an application for patent is done individually in each country or region. Patents are only enforceable in the country where issued.

Hague (International Industrial Design) Applications

The Hague applications are international industrial design patent applications. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) manages Hague applications. The Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs provides a practical business solution for registering up to 100 designs in 74 contracting parties covering 91 countries. All of this can be done through the filing of one single international application. Filing a complete and proper international Hague application results in patent pending status in participating countries where protection is sought. 

A single international application in a single language is filed for design patent protection. Filing is direct with the International Bureau of the WIPO, or indirectly through the patent office in your country. We file Hague applications at the USPTO. Filing a Hague application results in international patent pending. What does patent pending mean? It can mean a Hague patent application is on file.

Granted Patents vs. Patent Pending Applications

  • A Patent Pending Application is not yet the Right to Control: A granted patent is the actual legal right to control the making, using, and selling of the product or process for the term of the patent; whereas a pending patent application is not yet the right to control. 
  • Stopping Infringement is Easier with a Granted Patent: Competitors are not generally very afraid of pending patent applications. Stopping infringers with a granted patent is vastly easier and less expensive than trying to do the same with a pending patent application.
  • You Can Get a Licensing Deal with a Granted Patent: You are not likely to get a licensing deal with only a pending patent application, but you can get a licensing deal with a granted patent. 
  • Granted Patents have Determinable Asset Valuation: For the pending status comparison: first, provisional applications are mere placeholders having the value of staking a claim to a date; and second, active prosecution is too uncertain until notice of allowance unless it is a divisional or continuation in part from a granted patent. 

Important Tip: When looking for expert patenting services help only a patent attorney or patent agent can prosecute patents for you.

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