When can “patent pending,” “patented” and other patent notices be used?

After a patent issues, any product covered by that patent should be appropriately marked with the patent number in order to preserve the right to the full range of remedies available under the patent law. An appropriate notice of the patent would be "U. S. Patent No. ______." Marking a product as "patented" or using the term "patented" in the marketing of a product is only appropriate if a patent has actually been granted by the Patent Office relating to that product.

The notice "Patent Pending" or "Pat. Pend." may be used once an application has actually been filed with the Patent and Trademark Office. Although this form of notice does not itself generate any remedies prior to issuance of a patent, it may have the effect of causing competitors to be more wary in introducing competitive products. A patent pending notice may only be properly used after the application has been filed.

The patent marking can be placed on the product itself or the product packaging, and may also be "virtually" marked with a website that lists the associated patent numbers, thereby avoiding re-tooling or printing costs for adding or removing patent numbers. To ensure a product is adequately marked, these marking options should be explored with your patent attorney.