Invention Geek – Patent Pending?

Question from C. George:
Who gets the right to put “patent pending” on a product? Do they have to file a patent application first or what?
-C. George

The term “patent pending” may be used by a manufacturer to indicate that a patent for the product has been filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. This statement has no legal implication as the protection provided by a patent does not actually begin until the patent is granted. Basically, “patent pending” serves as a warning that duplicating the product could result in being liable for damages and possible legal action if and when a patent is issued.

Falsely using the term “patent pending” can result in a fine for deceiving the public. A fine of up to $500 can be sought for each usage of “patent pending” when no application has been filed.