Tune into any episode of Shark Tank and you’ll hear contestants proudly working into their pitch that their invention is “patent pending,” as if this implies that the product is superior in some way and should be given an extra look by the sharks. Or maybe you’ve recently shopped on Amazon, and you’ve noticed sellers including the words patent pending in their product title.
But what does patent pending really mean and does it have any bearing on the quality of the product being sold?
Essentially no. The term patent pending means just that; an application for a patent has been filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and is currently pending. The merits of the patent application have yet to be considered, and it’s possible the product may even be denied a patent by the time the process is over. But, the minute you file, you have the right to use “patent pending” status.
The main reason is for intellectual property purposes. It’s meant to put others on notice that the product is currently under consideration for a patent and that if someone else copies it, they could be sued in the future and face considerably more damages for doing so willfully.
But, the term patent pending has also turned into a marketing tactic. Again, it positions the product to look superior to other items on the market or to give the appearance of having more advanced or cutting-edge technology. The perception seems real, even if the facts do not necessarily support that being true.
What’s the takeaway?
Developers or businesses who have filed a patent application that’s pending should continue to use that designation to put others on notice of their rights. But, consumers should also have a clearer understanding of what patent pending status does and does not mean when making purchasing decisions or evaluating the quality of a product.
If you have additional questions or you are considering a patent for your invention, our attorneys are here to help. Please contact us at 888-666-0062 to schedule an appointment.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney.