Throughout my time helping Invent Help Ideas develop numerous different projects, this conundrum has often reared its head. It is essential to say from the outset that there is no definitive answer, however i will try 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 as well as the answer will differ depending on the specific idea.
With that said, below are the premiere factors behind building a prototype before patenting:
A patent application requires a certain level of detail regarding the way the idea functions. This is known as ‘sufficiency’ or an ‘enabling disclosure’. It is often much easier to describe, and draw, an invention once a prototype has been produced and tested.
Prototyping develops the idea and it could be that a new or better option is achieved. Potentially these iterative developments could require altering the initial patent application or filing a new application. This might will cost more or lead to advantageous changes being left unprotected.
The grace period before substantial fees and important decisions need to be made through the patenting process is fairly short, considering the average time that it takes to launch a brand new product to the market. It can be argued that it is preferable to progress the thought as much as possible before filing the patent application, including finalising the design and style through prototyping. This would then enable the grace period for use for manufacturing or licensing the item.
A prototype could be used to test the marketplace plus some people consider that it is advisable to accomplish this before starting a potentially expensive Inventhelp Invention News strategy. (Disclosing the idea can prevent a granted patent being achieved and legal services needs to be taken regarding how to test the marketplace without forfeiting potential patenting opportunities. Confidentiality agreements are one way of protecting an understanding before a patent application has been filed.)
A prototype may prove that this idea is not viable therefore saving the fee and time involved in drafting and filing a patent application.
Conversely, here are the main top reasons to file a patent application before prototyping:
Prototypes often must be created by companies and for that reason it can be wise to apply for the patent first to protect the intellectual property.
If the inventor waits for that prototype to be produced before filing the patent application, somebody 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 through the UK IPO which could reveal valuable prior art material, not only regarding the direction the prototype should take, but additionally when it comes to potential infringement issues whereby the prototype may then be designed around existing patents.
A patent application as well as the resulting patent, like all intellectual property, gives an asset which is belonging to the inventor or applicant company. If prepared effectively, the patent could be licensed or sold to produce an income stream potentially without ever needing to make the prototype.
It might be better to begin with a patent application if funds are restricted, being a patent application is normally less than a prototype.
A ‘provisional’ patent application may be filed without requiring great detail, providing a followup application will then be filed within 12 months which describes the concept in greater detail. This may be following the proof of concept offered by the prototype.
There are some ways round these issues. Prototyping manufacturers can be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement prior to the idea is disclosed. However keep in mind many companies will never sign confidentiality agreements, since their in-house departments may be working on similar ideas. Pre-application patent searches can be completed prior to prototyping or patenting to discover whether it is sensible to proceed while not having to draft and file a software.
There exists a third perspective for consideration. Some skilled professionals would advise that it’s not a patent or prototype which should come first nevertheless the opinion of industry experts as to if the thought is viable and definately will sell. They might argue that the prototype and patent are very important areas of this process but, at the beginning, it’s advisable to ascertain there is really a market before purchasing either a patent or prototype.
To conclude, the easiest method to proceed with any cool product idea is Invention Help. In the event the novel functionality in the idea is unproven, then this prototype can be a sensible starting point. It really is worth making certain a fbmsjf company is employed to produce the prototype which a confidentiality agreement is signed before the concept being revealed. Alternatively, the inventor may choose to file a patent application first and accept that additional cost could be incurred to re-file or amend the applying as the project is developed.