What does patent pending mean?

tony

 What does patent pending mean?

As an inventor, a patent protects your invention from being duplicated, copied or used by others without your permission.  A patent application in the United States is issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).  After submitting a patent application, the patent office will need time to review your application (which undergoes several processes), and because yours is not the only patent application they have, it might take a few years to get a patent. After submitting the patent application, your invention is said to be officially “patent pending.”
Patent pending is a term that describes a patent application, which has been filed with the USPTO, but the invention has not yet received an official patent.  This term indicates that the inventor is in the process of securing protection for his/her invention, but the scope of this protection and whether or not it will be issued has yet to be determined.
When your design is marked “patent pending” the public and the people who may seek to copy it, are put on notice that your invention may be protected if a patent is granted. During the ‘patent pending’ stage, you may not sue those who copy your designs or invention for infringement. However, if you are granted a patent by the USPTO, then you have the right to sue someone who copies or sells your invention as was outlined in the patent application.
It is important to take note of the fact that only the claims you have made in your patent application, will be protected by the patent-pending if a patent is granted. This means that if you need to sue someone or a company for copying your invention, you can only sue them within the scope of your pending patent (only what is outlined or claimed in the patent application).
You should also note that you cannot add any new claims to your patent applications, once they have been filed, even if they are in the patent pending stage. For instance, if you had filed a patent for a new debt management software, and realized that you could improve the software to prioritize and even pay debts on client’s behalf, you may have to file for a new patent in order to include these additional features.
Filing for a patent can be a complicated and time-consuming process. However, patent attorneys may be able to help you sail through this process without much hassle. These attorneys are able to conduct a patent search, to ensure that you are eligible to receive a patent, even before you fill any forms. They are also able to safeguard your interests during the patent pending stage.  For instance, if an infringer files for a patent then the lawyer may request the patent office to speed the patent consideration process.  You should, however, note that hiring a patent attorney can be an expensive affair, but a rewarding one if your invention is worth it.
While you might not enjoy the same level of protection you get from being granted a patent, patent pending will still give you some protection. For instance, if someone else files a patent application for the same invention as you, then the USPTO will grant you a patent (if your idea is patentable) over them if you filed the application first.  You may also be able to sue infringers if you are granted a patent, and they may even have to pay you backdated royalties up to the date you filed for a patent.