I know it is illegal to advertise an invention as "patent pending" unless a patent application has been filed. I also know that provisional patent applications are never actually examined (unless you reference or convert). They are also low cost to file (currently $65 for micro-entity status).
My question is: If a company wants to be able to put "patent pending" on their invention, and they file a provisional patent application, but have absolutely no intention of ever filing a regular patent application, is that OK? Let's assume they are making a machine and they think it is not eligible for a patent. It's not novel. They've already been selling it for decades. etc. They file a provisional application anyway and put "patent pending" on their machine. Is that allowed?
I think that the relevant law is "35 USC 292 - False marking."
It seems to me that someone could file a provisional application that says "invention description: any possible arrangement of matter" and then they could put "patent pending" on whatever they want for a year. Is that right?