Advice From a Patent Attorney; Denver area’s Mark Trenner Answers Question on Local Denver Radio Show:


So if I file a patent application for my invention, I can stop infringers from making my product?

It’s not that simple. First, filing a patent application does not give you any rights to stop an infringer.

Why not?


A patent application is nothing more than a description of your invention with claims identifying what you believe to be unique about your invention. The patent application has to be examined by the US Patent Office before it can be allowed to issue. And if the US Patent Office does not think that you are entitled to a patent for your invention, then they can deny your application.


Wait a minute, so even if I file a patent application, my invention isn’t protected?


That’s right. Just think if all you had to do to stop others from making, using, or selling your product was to file a patent application. People would file inventions for things that already exist, like a mobile phone. Then they’d go sue the manufacturers of mobile phones. The mobile phone manufacturer would spend all their time defending frivolous law suits against patent applications which could never be allowed to issue as a patent because the so-called invention already exists.


That makes sense. But then why should I file a patent application?


You do, however, have “patent pending” status as soon as we file the provisional patent application. You should mark your product and any advertisements/brochures, etc. as “Pat. Pend.” Legitimate businesses should at least investigate a claim of patent pending.


That is not to say there won’t be those who copy your invention. But this is true even for issued patents.