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All Questions in Patent Process >> How to dispute a Patent Pending?

How to dispute a Patent Pending?

Posted by Anonymous . updated on 2/26/2009
Long story short, I provided about 25K of tech support (programming, website, and ad copy) to a company in exchange for profit sharing. They later said no thanks to profit sharing and are trying to force me to turnover our software/website without any compensation.

Our lawyers have assured us that they don't have a case.

Here is my question. I have since learned that there is nothing novel or nonobvious about their idea. In fact there are several other patents pending and plenty of similiar products already on the market.

If I can prevent their patent from being accepted, I may have a chance to recover some of my damages by selling the software. Our lawyers feel we could sell the softare as the situation stands, but I'd feel better if I knew we would not "ever" be infringing on a patent.

Sorry such a long question. I guess a better way of asking would be, "How do you contest a patent when it is still in the pending stage?"  Smiley

Answers (4)
If their patent application is still unpublished, you could file a protest, including submission of prior art patents and publications that would render their application obvious.

You would need to be able to identify their patent application specifically enough that the USPTO can find it.  MPEP chapter 1900 discusses this.  Looks like you must be able to give the application number;  if you don't already know it, you might ask your lawyers if they can somehow demand it.
Could someone please explain to me what is the purpose of stamping "Pat Pending" on a product?  Does it simply mean that an application has been submitted to the patent office?  If so, does it give the inventor any rights?  Afterall, the application may not even get examined for a couple of years, and then, it might get rejected.  Thanks.
The use of "patent pending" is to provide notice to potential infringers under 35 USC 287 and the doctrine of provisional rights.
To the OP's situation: there may be a breach of contract cause of action, there may also be a co-inventorship question.  To contest a patent, you have several methods, all depedent on at the stage the patent application is in.  You may submit a protest (after filing, but before publication), or you may submit a citation of prior art under MPEP 2200 (after publication), or you may file a duplicate set of claims and force an interference (during examination), or you may file a request for re-examination (after issue).

Talk to a lawyer for more advice.
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