If you are an inventor, you know that protecting your invention is crucial. One of the best ways to safeguard your invention is by obtaining a patent. However, the process of obtaining a patent can be complicated and time-consuming. In the meantime, you may wonder how to protect your invention before it is officially patented. The answer is “patent pending”. In this article, we will explain what “patent pending” means and how to use it to your advantage while you wait for your patent to be granted.
What does “patent pending” mean?
When an inventor files a patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), they earn the right to label their invention as “patent pending”. This designation indicates that a patent application has been filed and the patent application is awaiting approval. It is used to show the public that you have applied for patent rights, but those rights are not yet granted to you by the USPTO. Your patent is pending.
How to use “patent pending” to your advantage as an inventor
- Warning to Competitors: The “patent pending” label status serves as a warning to potential competitors that a patent application has been filed and that you are pursuing patent rights. This can discourage competitors from copying the invention, as it tells them you are actively seeking legal protection.
- Marketing: The “patent pending” status can provide a marketing advantage by signaling to customers that you believe your invention is unique and valuable to warrant a patent.
- Licensing: The “patent pending” status can signal to companies that licensing opportunities may be available in the future once your patent is granted. It tells companies that you are working on getting a patent and may be eventually interested in giving them permission to make or sell your product, in exchange for royalties.
- Investment: The “patent pending” status can provide a level of legitimacy to the invention, which may increase its appeal to investors and attract funding. Investors want to know whether you are pursuing a patent, as an invention with a patent is more valuable than one without. The “patent pending” status lets potential investors know that you have taken the step of applying for a patent.
In summary, obtaining a patent is an essential step in protecting your invention. However, the process can be lengthy, and it may take months or even years before your patent is granted. In the meantime, you can use the “patent pending” status to your advantage by warning competitors, using it as a marketing tool, and attracting licensing opportunities and investors.
Label your invention with the “patent pending” label once you have filed a patent application to use it to your advantage. However, be careful not to label your invention as “patent pending” if you have not actually applied for a patent, or if your patent application has become abandoned. Labeling a product as “patent pending” when it was never pending, or is no longer pending, is considered a false marking and punishable by law.
In conclusion, obtaining a patent for your invention can provide legal protection and help you monetize your invention. The process of obtaining a patent can be complex and costly, but it can be worthwhile in the long run. By understanding the basics of patent law and working with experienced professionals, you can navigate the patent application process and protect your invention from potential infringers.
Patents are a valuable tool for protecting your intellectual property and ensuring that you receive the recognition and financial rewards you deserve for your hard work and ingenuity. If you have questions about patent law or the patent application process, consult with a qualified patent attorney or patent agent.