Inventors want to protect their invention as quickly as possible and display “patent pending” on their new invention or product to tell the world that they have taken the legal steps to protect their invention. We will discuss what design patent pending is, as well as how you can protect your design with the patent-pending designation.

What is Design Patent Pending?

Design patent pending is a legal status for an invention that can be obtained by filing a design patent application with the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office). An inventor who files a design patent application with the patent office can immediately begin using the “patent pending” designation on the article or product that bears his patent-pending design.

An inventor can continue to use this designation until the patent office either grants or denies his patent application. If the patent office grants an inventor’s design patent application or denies it, an inventor can no longer use the designation.

Many inventors file design patent applications to not only patent their invention but also to gain the ability to use the patent-pending designation. The designation can be a good tool to market your invention to the public and investors who see value in a product that is patent pending.

The main function of patent-pending is that it serves to inform the public that an inventor has taken the legal steps to protect his invention and that infringers may be legally liable for infringing upon an inventor’s design patent.

Note: Patent-pending status does not allow inventors to stop others from using, making, or selling the patent-pending design. An inventor can only stop others from using, making, and selling an article bearing the inventor’s design when the patent office grants the inventor’s design patent application.

How to Get Design Patent Pending?

An inventor can get a design patent pending by preparing a design patent application, filing it with the USPTO, and paying the applicable filing fees.

The patent office allows inventors to prepare, file, and prosecute their own design patent application. However, they do recommend that inventors seek the assistance of an experienced patent attorney to prepare their patent application, make drawings for the design, and to file it with the patent office.

Once you or your attorney file a design patent application with the patent office, you can immediately begin marketing and advertising your product as patent pending. You can add the term patent pending to the product bearing your design, product packaging, and product materials.

Patent-pending status is immediate, the moment you file your design patent application, you can begin using the patent-pending designation.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Design Patent Pending?

Patent-pending status can be obtained as soon as you file your design patent application with the USPTO. The time it takes to get a design patent pending depends on how much time it takes you or your attorney to prepare a design patent application and file it with the USPTO. It typically takes attorneys between 1 week to 2 weeks to prepare and file a design application. The time it takes your attorney depends on how busy your attorney is and the complexity of the design you want to patent.

How Much Does it Cost to Get a Design Patent Pending?

It costs anywhere from $50 to $200 to file a design patent application. Micro entities pay $50 to file a design patent application, small entities pay $100, and large entities pay $200. That said, the majority of the cost associated with patenting a design is attributable to the attorney fees that an inventor has to pay an attorney to prepare a design patent application.

Attorneys typically charge $2,500 to $3,500 to prepare and file a design patent application. Lawyers may charge more if they have to communicate with the patent office on your behalf or if they have to make amendments or changes to the patent application. So, in total, you’re looking at approximately $3,000 to patent your design.

When Can You Use Design Patent Pending?

You can use the “patent pending” designation as soon as you file a design patent application with the USPTO. You can use the designation on an article that incorporates your design, on product packaging, and other written materials. Just remember to make it clear as to what is patent pending in your invention.

Is Patenting Your Design Worth It?

Patenting your design is worth it if you know that you can profit from your design. If you have a product that sells well and it sells well because of its appearance or design, you should patent the design because it provides you with value. On the other hand, if your design isn’t unique and doesn’t add any value to the article to which it is applied, then it may not be worth your time and money to patent it. That said, you should consult with your own attorney to determine whether your design is worth patenting.

Can You Sell Something that is Design Patent Pending?

If you’ve applied your design to an article, you can sell the patent-pending article without any issues. Make sure to include the term “patent pending” on your article to serve as a warning to others who may want to copy your design. Of course, including the warning does not guarantee that your product won’t be copied and sold by others, but it makes proving intentional patent infringement much easier because the designation itself serves as notice to others that the article will be legally protected in the future.

Going from Design Patent Pending to Patented Design

It currently takes the patent office 20.5 months to either grant or reject a design patent application. While a design patent application is pending, the patent examiner may communicate with the patent holder or his attorney to ask any questions or request that changes be made to the patent application.

However, most design patent applications are approved without any issues. So, hiring an experienced patent attorney to prepare and file your patent application is the best thing you can do to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible. Experienced patent attorneys may charge more upfront, but they may save you money in the long run.

Once the USPTO grants your design patent application, you will be able to restrict others from using, making, selling, offering to sell, and importing an article or product that bears your design, without your express permission. If a bad actor uses, makes, or sells your design without your permission, you can send them a cease and desist letter, asking them to stop their infringing behavior.

If they don’t comply, you can enforce your rights by bringing a lawsuit against them in federal district court for patent infringement.

How to Speed Up Getting Your Design Patented?

You can speed up the examination and processing of your design patent application by filing a request for expedited examination using Rocket Docket. Rocket Docket cuts the time required to obtain a patent grant from 21 months to less than 6 months. Some applicants have reported obtaining a patent in as little as 4 months. So, if you have a design that you not only want to get patent-pending, but you actually want to patent, rocket docket will help you jump the line and get your patent approved in as little as 4 months.

Design Patent Pending

At this point, you should know that design patent pending means that an inventor has applied for patent protection for his design, but the patent office has not yet approved his patent application. Applicants who have a design that is patent-pending can use the patent-pending designation to advertise their product as pending a patent and they use the designation to ward off potential bad actors who may copy and sell the design. If you have any general questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.