Products and packages often bear legends stating, “Patent Pending,” “covered by U.S. Patent No. X,XXX,XXX,” or other similar phrases. And, companies sometimes advertise their products as being “patented.” It may be worthwhile to investigate the accuracy of such representations because it could pay off — big time. How so? First a little background and then the answer.

Patentees may represent that their products are covered by a patent or are patent pending — i.e., that a patent application has been filed — for various reasons. For one, these “patent markings” serve as proverbial “no trespassing” signs directed at potential infringers. Also, the patented or patent pending status of a product can earn it respect and credibility among the consuming public. Furthermore, failure to mark one’s products with applicable patent numbers can adversely affect the amount of damages awarded to patentees who succeed in patent infringement lawsuits.

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