What Is "Patent Pending"?
As soon as we file a patent application, whether a regular or provisional application, your invention is patent pending. While relatively rare, a competitor can still manufacture the invention and sell it in the marketplace while the patent is pending. However, if they do, and if they do not stop selling the product the very day your patent is granted, the court may award you three times the amount of profit the infringer makes, and may also add reasonable attorney's fees to the award.
Once a company sees "Patent Pending", that is all they know. In many cases, we can, when we file your application, ask the Patent Office to keep your application secret. In those cases, a would-be competitor will not have access to your patent application, so they do not know when the patent will be granted. The uncertainty is often enough to discourage a would-be infringer, because, for all they know, your patent could be granted in the next week or month, meaning there is not enough time for them to recover their investment in designing, building and selling the knock-off before your patent is granted.