What Does “Patent Pending” Mean?
After your provisional or non-provisional patent application is filed in the USPTO (normally it’s filed electronically), and a filing receipt is provided by the USPTO, you may claim “patent pending” status for your invention.
What benefit is provided by patent pending status?
US patent laws now operate (in general) under a “First to File” (FTF) patent law system. Under the US FTF system, the inventor who files the earliest patent application for an invention will usually (with some exceptions, see AIA facts) be entitled to any patent that issues on the invention.
Therefore it is vital that an inventor file a patent application to obtain patent pending status as soon as reasonably possible to protect their rights to any patent that may be granted on the invention.
Does Patent Pending Status Grant Me any Patent Rights?
Patent pending status may continue for several years while the invention is being examined in the USPTO. The inventor will only obtain patent rights if and when a patent is granted on their invention at the end of the patent pending process.
Can you tell me if my invention will receive a patent before I file a patent application?
No. Normally patentability can only be determined by the USPTO during the patent prosecution period after your non-provisional patent application is filed. However, an optional patent search (see the patent search page) can provide an assessment of the relative difficulty you might experience attempting to patent your invention.
Is a patent search required before I file a patent application?
A patent search is not required before filing a USPTO patent application, but it may be advisable in many cases so as to avoid unnecessary patenting expenses. You may perform your own patent search if you prefer, or else for an extra fee I can perform a US Patent Search for you that will include a patentability opinion. A patentability search cannot determine whether or not you will receive a patent on your invention, but it can provide you an assessment as to the difficulty you might encounter to obtain a patent on your invention. Please see the “Patent Searches” menu item for further details.
Is computer software patentable?
Please see the software patent pages on the menu above.
How long does it take to prepare and file a patent application?
Depending on the complexity of your invention, we can normally prepare and file a patent application within about two to four weeks after we have received a letter agreement and deposit from the inventor.
How long does the patenting process require?
Depending on the backlog in the US Patent Office, a utility patent application may require several years before it issues into a patent, assuming it is patentable.