After submitting a patent application, it’s common to mark your innovative product or service as “patent pending”. However, what are the benefits and drawbacks of doing so? Furthermore, how should you label your product or service as “patent pending”?
Do You Need to Label Your Invention as Patent Pending?
According to patent law, there’s no requirement to label your product or service as “patent pending” after filing the patent application. Labeling your invention as “patent pending” doesn’t provide any legal advantages, such as the ability to claim more damages or sue others.
Nevertheless, there are marketing and anticompetitive benefits to consider when labeling your invention as “patent pending”.
Pros of Marking Your Invention as Patent Pending
The first advantage is that you can market your product as “patent pending”. Many consumers believe that when they see “patent pending,” the product is unique and cannot be sold by others. Though this belief is incorrect, it’s a common misconception. While your patent application is pending, you can promote your product as “patent pending”.
The second benefit of labeling your invention as “patent pending” is that it may discourage others from copying your product or service. However, “patent pending” does not grant you the right to sue for patent infringement. Informing individuals that your product is “patent pending” may dissuade them from competing with you, even though legally they could copy the product.
Cons of Marking Your Invention as Patent Pending
In my opinion, there are no downsides to labeling your product as “patent pending”. The only precaution to take is to include the words “PATENT PENDING” without revealing your serial number. Otherwise, your competitors may file a protest with the patent office to influence the rejection of your patent application.
The Benefit of Patent Marking
The primary purpose of patent marking is to provide constructive notice to the world about your patent. While your patent application is pending, this notice doesn’t give you the right to sue anyone. However, setting up a proper patent marking system can simplify matters once your patent is granted.
How to Label Your Invention as Patent Pending
You have two options for marking your product as “patent pending”. Physically labeling your product with the words “PATENT PENDING” is one approach. However, once your patent is granted, you must update the label to include the patent number. This may be challenging with production and distribution processes involved.
Alternatively, virtual patent marking offers a simpler solution. You can label your product with “Pat.: [insert webpage address]”. The webpage address should be under your control and accessible to anyone without payment. The webpage can provide information about your product’s patent status, whether it’s “PATENT PENDING” or has been granted a patent. This method doesn’t require involvement from your manufacturer.
Will Competitors See Your Patent Application If You Label Your Product as Patent Pending?
Labeling your product or service as “patent pending” does not allow competitors to view your patent application. Patent applications remain confidential for 18 months from the earliest filing date.
Remember, for more information about patents and intellectual property, visit Garrity Traina.