Patent Pending Status
A. The term “Patent Pending” is mostly used to imply that the inventor or patent applicant has filed a Provisional Patent Application (PPA). Alternatively, it can also imply that non-provisional or complete patent application has been filed with patent office but the patent prosecution is pending and patent is not yet granted.
Effectively, the term “patent pending” is used to refer to any patent application that has been filed but not yet granted.
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The status of any published patent application can be checked through patent office database. For example, the US Patent Office provides USPTO PAIR as an access to pending application status and patent file history.
Protection During Patent Pending Status
Beyond use of the word “patent pending” for the purposes of informing general public that a corresponding patent is applied for, these two words provide greater benefits to inventors and patent applicants. It acts as a deterrent for potential patent infringers and in case the claimed invention is infringed (stolen or copied) during this period, inventors can initiate patent infringement proceedings once patent is granted. Legal proceedings can result in temporary and permanent injunctions against offending parties along with damages to recover costs. Therefore, it is unlikely that claimed invention is copied during “Patent Pending” period, as companies are well aware about high risks associated with patent infringement legal proceedings.
Advantages of Patent Pending Status
In addition to providing priority date to inventors and patent applicants under first-to-file approach, patent pending status provides significant advantages as the term can be used during marketing and product promotions to warn potential patent infringers. It provides additional safety so that copying of claimed invention can be prevented.
Obtaining Patent Pending Status
For formulating best strategy to obtain patent pending status, it is highly advisable to consult a patent attorney. The patent attorney will understand technicalities of invention before suggesting possible ways to file for patent protection, including, whether to file a provisional patent first or file non-provisional directly. Also, a prior art search is advisable before filing a patent to ascertain that no prior patent or non-patent literature exists that may hamper the patentability of the invention.
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