The Wife received a cool wine aerator from a company named, Vinturi.  I noticed that the box mentioned that the technology was patent pending, and I thought to myself what does ‘patent pending’ even mean?

Vinturi Wine Aerator

Review of Vinturi Wine Aerator

First the results of the product.  The product is a modern looking glass piece that is about 4 or 5 inches and sits in a black rubber stand.  It would look sharp on any bar.

The Wife took 4 people (Mother in law, Sister in law, Sister in law’s fiancé and me) and poured two glasses of wine.  The Wife was the only one who knew which glass was the glass that went through the Vinturi aerator and the normal straight up wine.

The women, who drink wine often, knew right away.  The Sister in law’s fiancé didn’t know and I had an inkling, but I wasn’t positive.  The women loved the wine using the Vinturi Aerator.

As the night wore on, I might or might not have put my margarita through the aerator…it tasted better lol.

What is Patent Pending?  What Protections are Associated with Patent Pending?

I know very little about the patent and trademark process.  I did some clerical work for an attorney once, but I never took a class in law school and considering the following flow chart provided by the United States Patent and Trademark Office it seems like a pretty complicated area of law.

USPTO Flow Chart

So what is the definition and laws surrounding patent pending? According to the USPTO

[it is] used by a manufacturer or seller of an article to inform the public that an application for patent on that article is on file in the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The law imposes a fine on those who use these terms falsely to deceive the public.

Surprisingly that doesn’t really answer the questions, so I went researching a little further.  About.com provides a little bit more information, and explains why someone would use the term,

Manufacturers use patent pending as a warning that a patent may be issued that would cover the item and that copiers should be careful because they might infringe if the patent issues. Once the patent issues, the patent owner will stop using the phrase patent pending and start using a phrase such as “covered by U.S. Patent Number XXXXXXX.”

It seems that patent pending provides a type of protection from would be imitators.  If they succeed in imitating it may be only a couple of months before copying becomes a cause of action for a lawsuit.

Ever have any experience with the USPTO? How about filing a Patent or Patent Pending?