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What does patent pending mean?

When something is marked as “patent pending” it simply means that the creator of that item has filed a patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and is waiting to find out whether or not a patent will be granted. It basically warns people that at some point in the future, a patent may be issued which will protect some part of the product and that copiers should be careful because they might end up infringing the creator’s rights in the product. 

It should be noted that if someone places the phrase “patent pending” on a product when there is no related patent application filed with the PTO, they can be subject to fines.