The word “pending” simply means “awaiting:, The term “patent pending” means that, having filed an application for a patent that meets all requirements for your invention, you are now awaiting granting of it.
The process of obtaining the patent can take many months or even years. Once you have filed for a patent, it does not automatically go into the queue for examination. It is up to you, the inventor, to request examination. You will actually have up to five years to come to this point, giving you time to do a more thorough market study to help you decide whether or not your creation is feasible and worth proceeding with patenting. If the five year period expires, it will be considered abandoned; however, you may have it reinstated with the applicable fee.
Why would you file an application that long before you are ready to request examination? There are benefits to filing so soon. Your application is open to the public after 18 months of your file date. The fact that your patent is pending offers some protection against others making, using, or selling your invention. If someone were to do so, they may be liable for infringement once you finally achieve full patent status. If you do allow your application to become abandoned, the invention is then fair game for others to make.
Not everyone who invents wants to undertake the actual production and selling of their creation. During the period between filing and examination, if you determine that your invention is marketable, you may begin to look for manufacturers who would be interested in licensing it. If you find a company that wants to take it on, you will be relieved from the work of producing and marketing yourself, and receive compensation for your brainchild.
Check out Innovative Licensing for excellent advice on how to go about the patent application and licensing processes.
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