Throughout my time helping Inventhelp Invention Idea develop a variety of different projects, this conundrum has often reared its head. It is important to say from the outset that there is absolutely no definitive answer, however i will aim to convey the alternative perspectives, to allow inventors to make an informed choice for themselves. The opinions on this topic vary across professionals within the IP industry and the answer will differ depending on the specific idea.
With that said, below are the main reasons for building a prototype before patenting:
A patent application demands a certain level of detail regarding the way the idea functions. This is called ‘sufficiency’ or perhaps an ‘enabling disclosure’. It is often easier to describe, and draw, an invention when a prototype has been given and tested.
Prototyping develops the concept and it could be which a new or better option is achieved. Potentially these iterative developments could require altering the first patent application or filing a brand new application. This might cost more or lead to advantageous changes being left unprotected.
The grace period before substantial fees and important decisions must be made throughout the patenting process is very short, thinking about the average time that it takes to produce a whole new product onto the market. It may be argued that it is preferable to progress the thought as much as possible before filing the patent application, including finalising the style through prototyping. This would then enable the grace period to be utilized for manufacturing or licensing the item.
A prototype could be used to test the current market and a few people take into consideration that it is best to accomplish this before starting a potentially expensive Inventhelp Intromark strategy. (Disclosing the thought can prevent a granted patent being achieved and legal counsel needs to be taken regarding how to test the marketplace without forfeiting potential patenting opportunities. Confidentiality agreements are a way of protecting a concept before a patent application has been filed.)
A prototype may prove that this idea is not viable therefore saving the fee and time involved with drafting and filing a patent application.
Conversely, below are the main reasons to file a patent application before prototyping:
Prototypes often have to be created by companies and thus it can be smart to apply for the patent first to protect the intellectual property.
If the inventor waits for the prototype to be produced before filing the patent application, someone else may file an application for the very same idea first. In many countries around the world, including the UK, the patents systems are ‘first to file’ and not ‘first to invent’.
The patent application process features a thorough worldwide novelty and inventiveness search by the UK IPO that may reveal valuable prior art material, not only with regards to the direction the prototype should take, but in addition in terms of potential infringement issues whereby the prototype may then be designed around existing patents.
A patent application and also the resulting patent, like all intellectual property, gives an asset which can be owned by the inventor or applicant company. If prepared effectively, the patent may be licensed or sold to generate earnings stream potentially without ever having to make the prototype.
It might be better to begin with a patent application if funds are limited, as being a patent application is usually less expensive than a prototype.
A ‘provisional’ patent application may be filed without requiring great detail, providing a followup application is then filed within 12 months which describes the thought in more detail. This may be following the proof of concept supplied by the prototype.
There are some ways round these complaints. Prototyping manufacturers can be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement prior to the idea is disclosed. However be aware that many companies is not going to sign confidentiality agreements, since their in-house departments might be working on similar ideas. Pre-application patent searches could be carried out before prototyping or patenting to discover whether it be sensible to proceed without needing to draft and file a software.
You will find a third perspective for consideration. Some skilled professionals would claim that it’s not just a patent or prototype that should come first but the opinion of skilled professionals as to whether the concept is viable and can sell. They might debate that the prototype and patent are essential elements of the process but, in the start, it’s advisable to ascertain that there is actually a market before making an investment in either a patent or prototype.
To conclude, the simplest way to proceed with any cool product idea is New Invention. In the event the novel functionality from the idea is unproven, then the prototype can be a sensible first step. It is actually worth making certain a fbmsjf company is employed to make the prototype and this a confidentiality agreement is signed ahead of the concept being revealed. Alternatively, the inventor may choose to file a patent application first and accept that additional cost may be incurred to re-file or amend the application because the project is developed.