Define: Pat. Pend

Pat. Pend
Pat. Pend
Quick Summary of Pat. Pend

“PAT. PEND” is an abbreviation for “PATENT PENDING,” which signifies that an inventor has submitted a patent application for their creation, but it has not yet been approved by the government. For instance, if a company develops a phone case with a built-in charger, they may include “PAT. PEND” on the packaging to inform customers that they have sought a patent for this innovation. This serves as an indication that the product is distinct and may be safeguarded by a patent in the future.

What is the dictionary definition of Pat. Pend?
Dictionary Definition of Pat. Pend

PAT. PEND is an abbreviation for PATENT PENDING, indicating that an individual has submitted a patent application for their invention, but it has not yet been approved. It is comparable to eagerly awaiting a teacher’s evaluation of your homework. Although you believe you have done well, there is uncertainty about receiving the highest grade. Therefore, when encountering PAT. PEND, it signifies that someone has conceived an innovative concept and is awaiting the determination of whether they can obtain legal protection for it.

Full Definition Of Pat. Pend

The term “Pat. Pend” is an abbreviation for “Patent Pending,” a legal designation used to indicate that a patent application has been filed for an invention, but the patent has not yet been granted. This term serves as a provisional protection for inventors, signalling to the public and potential competitors that the inventor is seeking patent rights. This overview will explore the legal significance, implications, and practical aspects of the “Patent Pending” status within the context of the UK patent system and broader international perspectives.

Legal Framework in the UK

Filing a Patent Application

In the UK, the process of obtaining a patent begins with the filing of a patent application with the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO). The application must include a detailed description of the invention, claims that define the scope of the patent protection sought and any necessary drawings. Once the application is filed, the status of “Patent Pending” can be applied to the invention.

Examination and Grant

The patent application undergoes a formal examination process, which includes a search to identify prior art and an examination to ensure that the invention meets the criteria of novelty, inventiveness, and industrial applicability. If the application satisfies these requirements, a patent is granted, and the inventor gains exclusive rights to the invention for up to 20 years from the filing date.

Provisional Rights

During the “Patent Pending” period, the applicant does not yet have enforceable patent rights. However, the publication of the patent application, which typically occurs 18 months after the filing date, provides provisional rights. This means that if the patent is eventually granted, the inventor may be able to claim damages for any infringing activities that occurred after the publication date.

Significance of “Patent Pending”

Deterrent Effect

The primary function of the “Patent Pending” designation is to serve as a deterrent to potential infringers. By marking an invention with “Patent Pending,” the inventor signals that patent protection is being sought, which can discourage competitors from copying or using the invention without permission. This deterrent effect can be crucial in industries where time-to-market and competitive advantage are critical.

Market Positioning and Investor Relations

“Patent Pending” status can also enhance an inventor’s market position and appeal to investors. It demonstrates a commitment to protecting intellectual property and can add credibility to the invention. For startups and small businesses, having a “Patent Pending” status can be a valuable asset when seeking funding or entering into partnerships.

Legal Implications

While “Patent pleading” itself does not confer legal rights, it is a significant step in the patent process. If an invention is marked as “Patent Pending” and it is later discovered that no patent application was filed, this could constitute false marking, which is a legal offence. In the UK, false marking can result in fines and damages.

International Perspectives

European Patent Office (EPO)

In Europe, the process for obtaining patent protection can be pursued through the European Patent Office (EPO) under the European Patent Convention (EPC). Filing an application with the EPO can result in a European patent, which is then validated in individual member states. The “Patent Pending” status is similarly applicable during the pendency of the European patent application.

Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)

The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) provides a unified procedure for filing patent applications in multiple countries. An inventor can file a single international application, which is then subject to international search and preliminary examination. The “Patent Pending” status applies during the international phase before the application enters the national phase in designated countries. This system streamlines the process for inventors seeking protection in multiple jurisdictions.

United States

In the United States, the “Patent Pending” status is recognised upon the filing of a patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The US system includes provisional patent applications, which allow inventors to secure a “Patent Pending” status quickly and at a lower cost, with a full application to follow within 12 months.

Practical Considerations for Inventors

Marking and Notice

Inventors should appropriately mark their products or literature with “Patent Pending” once an application has been filed. This marking should be clear and conspicuous to effectively serve its purpose as a deterrent. It is also advisable to keep records of the marking practices and the dates on which they began.

Confidentiality and Disclosure

While “Patent Pending” provides a measure of provisional protection, inventors should still be cautious about disclosing their inventions publicly before filing a patent application. Premature disclosure can compromise the novelty of the invention and jeopardise patentability. Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) can be used to protect the invention during discussions with potential partners or investors.

Strategic Considerations

Inventors should consider their overall intellectual property strategy when deciding to file a patent application. Factors such as the commercial value of the invention, the cost of obtaining and maintaining a patent, and the likelihood of enforcement should be weighed. In some cases, alternative forms of protection, such as trade secrets, may be more appropriate.

Enforcement and Infringement

Enforcement During Pendency

During the “Patent Pending” period, the inventor cannot enforce patent rights since the patent has not yet been granted. However, once the patent is granted, the inventor may be able to seek damages for infringement that occurred after the publication of the patent application. This retrospective enforcement relies on the provisional rights established by the publication.

Post-Grant Enforcement

Once a patent is granted, the patent holder has the exclusive right to make, use, sell, and import the patented invention. If an infringer violates these rights, the patent holder can take legal action to stop the infringement and seek damages. It is crucial for patent holders to actively monitor the market for potential infringements and be prepared to enforce their rights.

Challenges and Limitations

Uncertainty and Risk

One of the significant challenges associated with the “Patent Pending” status is the uncertainty it entails. There is no guarantee that the patent will be granted, and the scope of the claims may be narrowed during the examination process. Inventors must be prepared for the possibility that their application may be rejected or that the granted patent may provide less protection than initially sought.


The process of obtaining a patent can be expensive, with costs associated with filing, examination, and legal representation. Maintaining a patent also requires periodic renewal fees. Inventors need to consider these costs in their budgeting and ensure that the potential commercial benefits justify the investment.

Time to Grant

The time required to obtain a patent can be lengthy, often taking several years. During this period, the “Patent Pending” status provides provisional protection, but the inventor must wait for the grant to secure enforceable rights. This delay can be a disadvantage in fast-moving industries where technological advancements occur rapidly.


The “Patent Pending” status is a critical component of the patent system, offering provisional protection and strategic advantages to inventors. It serves as a deterrent to potential infringers, enhances market positioning, and signals to investors and partners that patent protection is being sought. However, it also involves uncertainties, costs, and the need for careful strategic planning.

In the UK and internationally, the legal framework surrounding “patent pleading” provides a structured pathway for inventors to secure patent rights. By understanding the implications and practical considerations associated with “patent pending,” inventors can effectively navigate the patent process and maximise the value of their innovations.

Key Takeaways

  1. Deterrent Effect: “Patent Pending” serves as a warning to potential infringers that patent protection is being sought.
  2. Provisional Rights: Upon publication of the application, provisional rights may allow for retrospective enforcement once the patent is granted.
  3. Market and investor benefits: it enhances credibility and market positioning and can attract investment.
  4. International Applications: Systems like the PCT streamline the process of securing patent protection in multiple jurisdictions.
  5. Practical Considerations: Proper marking, confidentiality, and strategic planning are essential.
  6. Challenges: uncertainty of grant, costs, and time to grant must be managed.

Understanding the nuances of “patent pleading” can empower inventors to protect their intellectual property effectively and leverage their innovations in the competitive marketplace.

Pat. Pend FAQ'S

“Pat. Pend” is an abbreviation for “Patent Pending.” It indicates that a patent application has been filed with the relevant patent office but has not yet been granted or rejected.

Using a product marked with “Pat. Pend” without permission may infringe on the pending patent rights. It is advisable to seek legal advice or obtain permission from the patent holder before using such a product.

The time it takes for a patent application to be granted or rejected varies widely. It can range from several months to several years, depending on the complexity of the invention and the backlog of applications at the patent office.

You cannot sue someone for infringing on a patent application marked with “Pat. Pend” alone. Only granted patents provide legal protection against infringement. However, you can monitor potential infringers and take legal action once your patent is granted.

While it is generally advisable to avoid public disclosure of an invention before obtaining a patent, marking it with “Pat. Pend” can provide some level of protection. However, it is still recommended to consult with a patent attorney to ensure proper protection.

You can sell a product marked with “Pat. Pend” as long as you have filed a patent application for the invention. However, it is crucial to understand that the marking does not guarantee patent protection, and potential buyers should be made aware of this.

Yes, you can license your invention marked with “Pat. Pend” to others. Licensing allows you to grant permission to others to use, manufacture, or sell your invention while retaining ownership rights.

You cannot enforce your patent rights during the “Pat. Pend” stage since the patent has not been granted. However, you can keep track of potential infringers and gather evidence to support your case once the patent is granted.

The “Pat. Pend” marking is primarily used in the United States. Other countries may have different markings or requirements for indicating pending patent applications. It is essential to consult with a patent attorney to understand the specific rules in each jurisdiction.

Yes, you can use the “Pat. Pend” marking on both design and utility patent applications. It serves as a notice to the public that you have applied for patent protection for your invention.

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This site contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation. Persuing this glossary does not create an attorney-client or legal adviser relationship. If you have specific questions, please consult a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

This glossary post was last updated: 8th June 2024.

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