Patent pending technology is a product with a patent application that's been filed and is under review. Until your patent application is approved, any manufacturer can use the basic concepts behind your product or technology. Patent pending technologies don't have patent infringement protection for inventors or owners. However, the designation gives potential infringers or competitors a warning about their damage, injunction, or seizure liabilities. Patent pending is also called patent applied for, and it's often abbreviated as pat. pending or pat. pend. on products. Anyone with a provisional patent application or a pending nonprovisional application can call their invention patent pending.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO, usually publishes pending patent applications within 18 months of the filing date. In some cases, the applications are kept private until the patent is issued and the patent pending designation is replaced by the patent number. In the United States, fraudulent use of a patent-related designation like a patent pending label can lead to fines of up to $500 per offense. Since individual product items are considered separate offenses, fraudulent use could result in large fines. The laws in most other countries are similar.

Patent Pending Inventions

Patent pending means that you've filed a patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. You'll get a patent pending serial number to alert people that you've applied for a patent on your invention. If another person or company copies your invention while your patent application is still pending, you can't sue them for infringement until the patent is issued. Some countries, like the United Kingdom, require warning notices with official patent application numbers on patent pending technology.

Before the United States Patent and Trademark Office grants a patent, it conducts a prior art search and examines the application for patentability. It also gives feedback to inventors and accepts revisions if they're needed. In some foreign countries, an inventor can get a patent almost immediately after filing an application. If another person or company comes up with the same invention as you without using any of your information, the USPTO will grant the patent to you if you applied before the other entity. Patent pending technology has an established filing date, but the patent hasn't been issued yet.

Publicly Disclosing Patent Pending Technology

You should never publicly disclose your invention before it's patent pending. A company or individual could take your idea, patent it, and then sue you for your own work. Also, don't change your design without revising your patent application or filing another patent. Otherwise, your modifications won't be protected from patent infringement.

Before you decide whether to make your patent pending technology public, think about how easily another inventor could copy it. If your product is manufactured easily or if it's a simple change to an existing product, other companies might try to profit from counterfeit versions. However, letting people know about your technology while it's patent pending gives you more time to talk to investors and get money for manufacturing. 

Provisional Patent Applications

provisional patent application lets you place a patent pending label on your product when you sell it so that other people know that you've already filed for a patent. The filing fee is $130 for small companies, and those that qualify as micro entities only need to pay $65. Provisional patent applications don't have any formal requirements, so they cost less for your attorney to prepare than regular or nonprovisional patent applications. However, you should still make sure that your invention is described in detail. 

After you file your provisional application, you can see if there's a market for your invention, work on perfecting it, and ask for investments from fellow businesspeople. There's no grace period after you create your invention, so you should file a provisional patent application as soon as possible. That way, even a partial idea can be protected. Provisional applications expire 12 months after the filing date. If your invention isn't popular or if you don't have enough investors, you can skip your nonprovisional patent application.  Even large companies sometimes don't have the funds to patent everything they invent.

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