A patent is a form of intellectual property protection designed to safeguard an invention. Its purpose is to ensure the rights and control remain with the inventor. Through filing for a patent the creator of an invention seeks to maintain exclusive rights over their innovation.
• What is patent pending?
It is common to see the phrase “patent pending” located on a product. This is a marked reference that indicates a patent has been applied for, but has not yet been approved or granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Often the individuals or businesses who prominently display this claim are letting the public know there is an application in pending status and if approved, copiers who construct a similar invention in the meantime would be committing a crime by breaking established patent laws.
The pending status does not offer legal protection, but by marking an invention ‘patent pending’, it does offer legal recoup after approval for the patent has been granted. Failure to mark does not give protection, in order to pursue legal action if someone copies an individual’s invention, it is required to have marked it ‘patent pending’ or ‘patent applied for’ with the issued number associated with the application.
• Reasons to apply for a patent and obtain pending status
It is in the inventor’s best interest to apply for a patent to protect the intellectual property which created. Once approved, the inventor fully and rightfully becomes the owner of the creation invention and has exclusive rights to control anything associated with the invention such as preventing others from using or selling the invention without permission.
Once an application is sent in, the invention is marked as having been filed and if approved, the inventor has legal protection. It is important to remember marking pending status does not protect the inventor, but it lets others know there is an application awaiting approval and if approved, the inventor becomes the rightful owner.
• Important facts about patent pending
What is important to know before putting the claim “patent pending” on an invention is the inventor absolutely cannot make this claim unless an application has already been submitted. Falsely making a ‘patent pending’ claim will result in a fine if caught. While an individual may have rightfully invented the item, they cannot claim pending status unless the appropriate application has been filed and is on record.
This is a good reason to get that application in as soon as possible before someone else makes the claim, if an individual has rightfully invented something, the pending status will designate and insure that person is the rightful owner in the event of any type of dispute. The patent protects one’s intellectual rights and if anyone tries to copy the invention, the law will be on the inventor’s side.
Applying for a patent is in an inventor’s best interest to protect their innovation, if exclusive control over an invention is desired, the inventor should not delay filing for a patent.