How to Get Patent Pending Status

Do you have an invention and you are stuck on what to do next?  Are you trying to decide if you want to make and sell your invention?  And, if so, do you have the cash to do so?  Are you considering selling your invention to an individual or company who would make and sell your invention?  Or, do you want to try to license your invention to others.  Are you afraid that if you start to disclose you invention to others that someone may steal your invention?  If so, it should be comforting to know that you can get “patent pending” status so that you have protection from and have recourse against those who might try to steal your ideas. 

There are a few ways to get patent pending status including:

  1. Applying for a provisional patent on the invention

  2. Apply for a design patent on the look of your product

  3. Apply for a utility patent application

What is a provisional application? 

A provisional patent application (PPA) is a simplified means to apply for patent protection that expires in one year of the filing date.  PPAs have a lower initial investment as opposed to the costs associated with the filing and prosecution of a nonprovisional application.  Filing a PPA would permit authorized use of "Patent Pending" notice for the 12-month term. 

How is a PPA a simplified means to apply for patent protection?

Because a PPA is not examined; therefore, there a several benefits in filing a PPA – such as an applicant is free to

·       perfect his or her invention (e.g., the applicant has an additional year to experiment);

·       find investors for financial backing, since filing a non-provisional application can be quite costly; or

·       find interested parties for licensing.

What is the difference between a PPA and a nonprovisional patent application?

Provisional patent application and non-provisional patent applications differ in many ways. A nonprovisional patent application is examined and does not expire after a year.  In fact, a nonprovisional application must be filed before the PPA expires in order to benefit from the earlier filing date.  Additionally, the initial investment of filing fees for filing a PPA in the United States Patent and Tademark Office (USPTO) is currently in the range of $280 to $70, while the initial investment of filing a nonprovisional application can cost thousand of dollars.

Are there any risks if I wait to file for patent protection?

For many years, the United States awarded the patent to the applicant who could prove that he or she created the invention first.  However, the U.S. currently awards the patent to the applicant who files the patent application first.  It is also important that you file your patent application as soon as possible before you disclose anything, demonstrate your invention publicly or offer it for sale.  So, if you are at the point where you want to market your invention, it is imperative that you consider patent protection in addition to whatever marketing strategies that you are considering using to facilitate turning your invention into a profitable endeavor so that you have reasonable protection and recourse against those who might be willing to steal your ideas and run straight to the patent office without passing “Go” to apply for a patent (If you read my article about Lizzie Magie and Monopoly (“5 Reasons to apply for a Patent, you “get” my joke.)).  Contact me today to learn more about PPA filings.

Ahaji Amos is patent and trademark attorney with 17 years of experience in intellectual property litigation and prosecution at Ahaji Amos, PLLC, a law firm that represents startup and small businesses in all matters including patent prosecution, trademark prosecution, copyrights, trade secrets, oppositions, cancelations, equity funding and commercial litigation. Ahaji Amos, PLLC is dedicated to representing entrepreneurs, inventors, and innovators.  

This article is for information and advertising purposes and does not constitute legal advice.  No attorney-client relationship is formed in the absence of a fully written and executed engagement agreement between Ahaji Amos, PLLC and its clients.  Ahaji Amos can be reached at  More information can be found at

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