What does Patent Pending mean?
Patent pending typically refers to a situation where a manufacturer has applied for a patent related to a specific item or manufacturing process but the United States Patent and Trademark Office has not yet approved the patent. During the period when the Patent and Trademark Office is reviewing the application for approval, patent pending serves as a warning to others that a patent may be in place soon. Any party who attempts to copy the item or manufacturing process will likely find themselves infringing on the patent once the Patent and Trademark office approved the patent.
Once the Patent and Trademark office issues a patent, the manufacturer may start referencing the patent rather than using the phrase "patent pending."
Should a manufacturer use the "patent pending" phrase when they have not completed the application process for a patent or in the event the Patent and Trademark Office has denied the patent, the Patent and Trademark Office may fine the manufacturer.