The term “patent pending” is often seen as a marking on manufactured items. Patent pending can be shortened to “pat. pending” or also “pat. pend.” All three methods used to mark manufactured items are valid.
What does Patent Pending refer to?
The term patent pending means that the owner of the invention has applied for patent rights for the invention and that the application is in process. As such the invention is already protected against infringement. Once the patent rights are granted, the patent pending phrase is replaced with covered by country such as “U.S. Patent Number”. It is illegal to mark an item with the term “patent pending” when there is no application filed for such.
Pending refers to waiting or in process. As such any person using the item, must take note that the item is already protected by the intellectual property laws of the specific country and serves as a warning to potential infringers that liability for damages back dated to the provisional filing date is in place. Once the patent is granted, the owner may file a lawsuit against infringement.
Since the patent application can take up to 18 months, the inventor requires some kind of protection. The patent pending term provides that protection. When filing a PCT patent application, one will also have the right to use the term. It should however, be noted that full protection is not yet in place against infringement.