When a patent application is filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) covering a product, service, or portion of a product or service, the owner has patent pending status in the United States regarding that invention. Basically patent pending status means that a patent application has been filed in the United States. Patent pending status continues until the corresponding patent application is abandoned or until a patent is granted.
Patent pending status does not mean that the patent applicant will necessarily obtain a patent. It only means that a patent is requested through the filing of a patent application. It is possible that the USPTO will find that the subject matter of the patent application does not meet the requirements to be granted a patent. On the other hand, a patent application corresponding to a claim of patent pending may indeed ultimately received a patent.
The patent pending notice is designed to put the public on notice that an application on some aspect of the corresponding product or service has been filed and might result in a patent. Therefore the patent pending notice may be effective in deterring competition during the pendency of the patent application. This may be particularly true if the start-up and production costs of producing and or selling the invention are high. As a competitor might not want to heavily invest in producing and selling a product when there is a chance the competitor will need to shutdown that production when a patent is granted. However, it is also possible that competitors will try to compete during the patent pending period.