I receive alot of questions about patent notices on vintage sewing patterns. TRULY vintage/antique sewing patterns will never have a patent that you need be concerned with today because patent generally only lasted for 20 years. BUT, for fun and to learn more about patents-seeing them up close and personal check out patent status at the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the Google Patent database.
But here’s some fun information-in the event you’re not up to searching within the databases.
Information included in the patent application generally includes:
- A title/name of the item.
- The date the patent application was filed.
- The name of the applicant.
- The term of the patent, if granted.
- Illustration of the item at all views.
Clothing can be patented (although extremely difficult) if the garment is “a new, useful and obvious invention”.
Utility patents may be granted for new and useful processes, machine, articles of manufacture, composition of matter, or new and useful improvements.
Design patents may be granted to an inventor of new, original and ornamental design for an article of manufacture.
What do the words: “patent pending” stamped or printed on vintage sewing patterns mean?
According to the patent office it means someone had at one time applied for a patent for the pattern design. The words served 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 issued.
Today-the notice or any issued patent mean absolutely nothing. The patent would have expired by now.
Once the patent issued, the patent owner sewing would stop using the phrase “patent pending”; replacing the phrase with something similar to start “covered by U.S. Patent Number XXXXXXX.”